City finances good as

middle of year arrives

City finances remain good as the halfway point of the year approaches, according to Finance Director Bob Paul's June 23 report to City Council.

Paul said at the end of May the city's revenues were at 50 percent of the budgeted number, while expenditures were at 40 percent. He added although the fire department was slightly ahead of budget, that will be corrected at the end of summer when some expenses will be transferred to levy funds.

Paul said the city has collected $470,000 more in income taxes than last year at this time. "Projections for 2014 total income tax collections remain in excess of budget at this time," he said.

Also, estate tax collections were $380,000 for the first half of 2014, with zero budgeted. "The cash balance of the general fund currently sits at $8 million, compared with $7 million at the beginning of the year," Paul said.

Water and sewer billings for the second quarter have been collected, and are slightly ahead of last year, he reported. New piping in the Walden area will be financed as much as possible with water capital funds.

"Overall, the cash position of water and sewer operations remains excellent," Paul said.

Hagquist interim chief

At City Council's committee of the whole meeting June 23, it was announced by Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin that Lt. Rob Hagquist will serve as interim police chief from June 27, when Chief Seth Riewaldt retires, and when a new chief takes over. The mayor said permanent police chief selection David Frisone likely will be in place by late August.

CRA expansion eyed

If City Council agrees, the city's Community Reinvestment Area No. 3 will be expanded to include all of the mixed-use zoning district in the northern portion of town which was approved in the May election.

Council discussed the proposal at its June 23 committee of the whole session. The area stretches west of Route 306, north of Treat Road and both sides of Route 43 north to the Bainbridge border and south to North Bissell Road and Sherwood Drive.

In addition to the mixed-use district, CRA No. 3 would include residential districts R-2, R-4 and R-5, C-1 commercial and planned unit development. Land in the area is eligible for tax credits for repairs and upgrades.

Visit the MNC for hike

On June 29, local naturalist Jeff Riebe will lead a hike along babbling brooks and trickling streams which are teeming with life below the surface at the Moebius Nature Center on East Mennonite Road. Sign up at

Using seines and dip nets, participants will find fish, amphibians and other creatures. The event is for family members at least 8 years old, who should dress appropriately for getting wet, including wettable shoes or rubber wellies, but not Crocs, sandals or flip-flops.

Libraries closed July 4

All branches and offices of the Portage County District Library will be closed July 4 in observance of Independence Day. They will resume normal operating hours the following business day. For information about library programs and services, visit Portage County District Library at, find it on Facebook and follow on Pinterest.

Here are library hours

Local residents are reminded of the regular hours at Auroar Memorial Library. They are: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. It is closed Thursdays and Sundays.

City meetings planned

City meetings coming up in the not-too-distant future are: tonight (June 25) -- civil service commission at 6:30; June 26 -- architectural board of revidew at 7 p.m.; July 2 -- planning commission at 7 p.m.; and June 9 -- board of zoning appeals at 7 p.m.

Concerts continuing

The city's next summer music concert will be tonight (June 25) when the Swizzle Stick Band performs at 7 at the Veterans Memorial Park gazebo on East Garfield Road.

The band specializes in Motown and oldies tunes. State Farm Insurance Agent Greg Rodi is tonight's sponsor.

The Chardon Polka Band will perform July 9. Aurora Manor and Independence Villlage are sponsors.

July 4 festivities near

The city of Aurora and its residents are getting ready for July 4 festivities, which always provides a fun time for everybody involved.

The annual fun runs begin at 8 a.m. at the Bicentennial Park gazebo, with awards to be presented afterr the 1-mile and 5K events.

Various neighborhood and organizational units will line up at Barrington Town Square for the parade, which rolls off at 11 a.m.

After the parade, festivities run from noon to 4 p.m. just east of the main fire station, and fireworks will conclude the day's activities at 9:45 a.m. on East Pioneer Trail.