If you missed last night’s riveting meeting, here’s a rundown of the most prominent topics on Athens City Council’s agenda:
Council said no to centralization of local income tax.
The auditor and Ohio Municipal League recommended Council not condone the new centralized tax collection policy implemented by the state of Ohio. Council agreed to write a resolution to the state legislators and Gov. John Kasich to state its concerns. According to the auditor, the main issues with implementing this auditing structure are its reduction of the city’s revenue and removal of Athens’ auditing autonomy.
A new development on Dairy Lane will begin in May.
Mayor Steve Patterson announced the development of the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center on Dairy Lane. The 16-bed unit is presided over by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio and funded by Capital Funding to End Homelessness. The center is being built to remember two Athens residents who died from mental illness and a “failed mental-health system.” According to the Columbus Dispatch, it will be “the first residential rehabilitation facility in Ohio — and one of few in the nation — to provide longer-term care for patients released from psychiatric hospitals.”
Athens is saving your butts and putting them to use.
Patterson said the cigarette butt bins around Athens have collected 62 pounds this past year, the equivalent to 3,000 individual butts. The waste is then sent to Terracycle, a free waste-collection program for “hard to recycle materials, which repurposes the butts into products like jewelry and park benches.”
Park Mobile may be taking more than it(’)s worth.
The contract between the city of Athens and Park Mobile is still up in the air for renewal. Councilmembers are tentative to renew it without looking further into the price increase. The auditor said the price increase, which is linked to having mobile units in the package, is reasonable financially in the long run due to the revenue it brings in.
“A lot of this (revenue) is money we would not be able to collect on our own,” she said.
The Murphy Conservation . . . Park?
Frank Murphy, the sole member and shareholder of Health Realty, LLC, donated around 45 acres off Columbus Circle Road to the city of Athens for conservation purposes. The area is near The Flats and the stormwater retention basins. Names for the area are still being debated, but one thing is clear: Murphy would like his name to be included.
The carryover funds have been distributed, three department budgets reduced.
Last year, the city of Athens had a carryover budget from 2015 to 2016 of $2 million. This year, the carryover budget was assumed to be a bit less. At last night’s meeting, the auditor and Council announced the official carryover count was $1,003,000. Due to the lower number, money had to be allocated and redistributed.
Three sections were considered for budget decrease at Council’s last meeting Jan. 23. The official budget, however, shows a decrease in more specific sections: the general fund, workers compensation insurance and the un-appropriated funds. The general fund will be reduced by $643,358; the workers compensation insurance budget will be reduced by $622,687; and the un-appropriated funds have been appropriated at a reduction of $110,000.
At the time of publication, the details of the budget could not be found through the city of Athens’ website.