Mayor’s Notes

By Mayor Jim Forthofer

You and I may love Vermilion. But the past couple weeks of coping with winter have stressed out residents and city workers alike.

VPD

Police Chief Hartung appreciates the cooperation of the citizens who respected the emergency warnings during the Level 3 snow storm the weekend of the 19th& 20th. Community cooperation helped make the situation manageable. The VPD kept everyone safe and calm during one of the worst snow storms we’ve had in years.

VFD

Fire Chief Stempowski is grateful that no one was seriously injured in the flooding on Riverside Drive January 23rd. As Mayor, I can’t say enough about the Vermilion Fire Department’s response to the Riverside Drive evacuation. These volunteers insured the safety of Vermilion residents during a fast developing and life-threatening situation. I observed firefighters work all night to rescue 13 people two dogs and two cats. Then, some of these volunteers went home to prepare for their day jobs as morning arrived. We are lucky to have such dedicated volunteers.

I might also add that several contractors came to the aid of Riverside residents by assisting in ice clearing for no or little cost.

Service Department…86 miles of snow.

I wish all residents could witness the round the clock efforts of the city’s Services Director and service departments during the level 3 snow storm. Drivers from both distribution and streets departments worked through the blizzard to keep main streets passable for emergency vehicles. Some were pulled away for main breaks or sewer blockage. They then went back to plowing 86 miles of street. It is a critical job that is seldom done to everyone’s satisfaction. Winter isn’t over yet.

What’s up with my bills?

City Finance Director Amy Hendricks wants to pass along a heads up for Vermilion residents regarding activity they may see on their current tax and utility bills. Here is Ms. Hendrick’s message to you.

Utility Bills

The Utility Bills sent in January included an extra week of usage due to the timing of meter readings on the 1st Monday of the month. That, plus the $1 per unit increase to help replace water mains may cause you to see an increase with the most recent bill. The Utility Department replaced our 20 year old credit card machine this month to meet industry standards. This technology allows payments at the window to be processed more quickly and adds ApplePay and GooglePay. New receipt options are also available with the text to phone version becoming very popular with residents.

Property Taxes

Property owners in Vermilion may notice an increase in the amount of taxes coming to the City of Vermilion on the recent bill from the County. This 1 mill levy was approved by voters in November 2017. The cost is just over $13 for $100,000 market value of your home. The purpose of this approved levy is to provide an estimated $275,646 to support operation of the Parks and Recreation Board.

Local Income Tax

Local income tax for the City of Vermilion is paid through the Regional Income Tax Authority (RITA) by April 15th. If you live and work in Vermilion, your taxes are withheld by your employer, but you still need to file an annual return with RITA. If you live in Vermilion but work outside the City, your employer may, but is not required, to withhold income taxes due to the City of Vermilion. You will need to file a return and pay any amount due to RITA each year. You may also need to file quarterly payments to RITA based on your estimated income. Please DO NOT SEND YOUR RITA TAX TO THE CITY OFFICES. Filing your return at www.ritaohio.com is easy and FREE. You may also contact RITA at 1-800-860-7482 for assistance with your return.

Are the City’s finances any better?

Finance Director Hendricks’ reports the following to residents of Vermilion…

This time last year, we were just beginning to discover the City’s cash available for daily operations was dangerously low. In response, 2018 was spent looking for ways to increase income and reduce expenses with the focus on maintaining core city services. The results are paying off. As we closed 2018, the balance in our operating fund is up over $375,000 compared to 2017. The proposed operating budget for 2019 sits at $5.6 million which represents a reduction from $5.8 million last year due to savings generated by competitively shopping for our health care plan. We still must be very cautious and continue to look for ways to reduce expenses and grow revenue as our needs still exceed our available cash. But, the good news is that we are definitely headed in the right direction with the tax payer’s money!

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