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Jun
01
2020
Village Council

Village Council — Village projects revenue loss

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The Village of Yellow Springs is planning for a possible loss of $320,000 in tax revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis and its related economic impacts.

Village Manager Josué Salmerón presented the figures at Council’s April 20 regular meeting, which was held virtually and livestreamed.

In a memo, Salmerón wrote that the Village is affected by global uncertainty, job losses and a decline in economic activity due to the crisis.

“The Village of Yellow Springs has been specifically affected by Governor DeWine’s stay-at-home orders that have led to the closing of nonessential business and services,” Salmerón told Council.

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As a result the Village will forego projects, move to complete more work with municipal staff and take other steps to cut local costs, Salmerón said.

“Our approach is to minimize the impact to essential services and shift, where possible, some contracted services to work that can be done in-house by our current staff and reduce the amount — quantity — of certain work activities,” Salmerón said, citing that, for example, fewer sidewalks may be repaired in 2020 due to the revenue drop.

However, the Village has not furloughed staff or reduced hours for its employees to cut expenses, according to Salmerón.

“We made a commitment to keep all of our employees on, including our part-time employees,” Salmerón said. “They are now doing things that aren’t part of their job description.”

Salmerón estimated the loss using data from the Village’s municipal taxing authority, RITA, the Greene County Auditor’s Office and other sources. It includes revenue from income tax, state government disbursements, rollbacks/homestead, and real estate taxes, and the loss of interest income from investments, Salmerón noted.

In an email to the Village on April 13, RITA estimated that the Village could lose $158,250 in income taxes from individual and business taxpayers. An additional $419,500 in tax receipts could be delayed, RITA noted.

In a response to a question from the News, Salmerón said he had not heard of any other large local employers who have furloughed workers, with the exception of Antioch College. In fact, he added, Cresco Labs had just hired 20 people before the crisis hit.

“That business is doing well, and unlike the destination economy businesses, it’s resilient to this kind of economy,” Salmerón said.

Also in response to a question from the News, Salmerón specified additional areas where the Village might trim expenses. He said that budgets for travel and training were slashed, and the police’s line item for fuel will be much lower from less vehicle use and cheaper gas prices.

Council President Brian Housh added that the Village is saving money slated for overtime expenses to cover community events, such as Street Fair which was canceled.

More details on the Village’s contingency budget will be released at Council’s next meeting on May 4.

In other Council business —

• Council passed a resolution to pay $5,000 to Toole Design Group to create a “pre-design” of the Yellow Springs-Clifton Connector bike path. The Village had previously committed the funding, along with other local entities.

• Council approved a request from Community Solutions to fence a community garden on Village land on Corry Street to keep deer out.

• Council member Lisa Kreeger suggested the Village look at using the Bryan Center gym for public meetings in which participants and attendees are properly spaced from one another.

In other news from Virtual Town Halls —

• Salmerón said in response to a citizen question that the Gaunt Park Pool would likely not open as originally scheduled on May 25. He added that he was “committed to seeing the pool open in some form or fashion,” although it may not have the same hours or capacity as in previous years. Public pools remain closed in Ohio, with no date yet set for their reopening.

• Addressing local concerns around tourism, Salmerón said the Village was looking for ways to reduce density in the community by limiting parking, for instance by not opening all municipal parking lots spaces. He added that the Village is crafting a marketing campaign to urge visitors to wear masks. Local rates of mask usage are already high, he said.

• In response to a question from the News about how local officials will assist businesses who have been allowed to reopen, Miami Township Fire Chief Colin Altman said that the fire department would be available to help determine occupancy rates or give advice. He added that the group is involved in an “educational role” and is not enforcing the new orders. The YSPD can also help mark floors and suggest ways to comply with state guildienes, Police Chief Brian Carlson said.

• Yellow Springs Mayor Pam Conine shared figures that 65% of villagers had completed their census form, which is higher than state (52%) and national (48%) rates. She urged villagers who have not done so to fill one out at http://www.2020census.gov.

• In response to a question from the News, Salmerón said that he would be asking the Xenia Municipal Court to delay evictions until after the crisis is over due to the “public health impact and economic impact” that evictions may cause in the community. Housh added that Council will consider a formal response at its next meeting. Len Kramer of the YS Community Foundation shared that a local housing stability task force was surveying local renters, homeowners and landlords on the issue.

• In response to a citizen question, Altman said the fire station construction has proceeded during the crisis due to an exemption for public works, and was on track to be completed by October.

Council’s next virtual meeting is Monday, May 4.

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