MACEDONIA -- The city's financial information is not yet on the state's OhioCheckbook.com website, but Finance Director Rhonda Hall says she will be working with the treasurer's office to get it there soon.
Councilor Dave Engle asked Hall why the city wasn't on the Ohio Checkbook website March 23.
With Issue 3, a 0.5 percent income tax increase on the May 2 ballot, "it would be beneficial to get this on to the website as quickly as possible," Engle said. "I think its something that shows good transparency and the residents would appreciate it."
Hall said she has to speak with the Treasurer's office as to how to join the website and how long it will take, adding that when she does get the city online, she hopes to be able to post the city's finances retroactively to Jan. 1.
City Council voted unanimously March 10, 2016, to join Ohiocheckbook.com effective in January, which Councilors reasoned would allow Hall, who had recently been appointed, to become accustomed to working with the city's finances.
Hall told the News Leader March 24 joining the website was just low on the priority list during the first quarter of this year, given her other responsibilities.
"This was my first year closing the year out, I had to prepare the budget and now there is this water M and E (maintenance and expansion) report I have to do," she said "There is just a lot of work."
Hall added the finance office had been downsized in recent years from 3.5 to five stafffers, so there is no else one to do the work.
She told Engle she will contact the Ohio Treasurer's office before the next Council meeting, currently scheduled for April 27.
Mayor Joe Migliorini said the city has transparency because residents can make public records requests at any time and last year's expenditures are posted on the city's website.
Councilor Sylvia Hanneken said she spoke with the state treasurer's office, who told her the work load was minimal to get on the website.
"The fact is it's much more user-friendly and understandable to our residents to see something like that than our financial report," Hanneken said.
Hanneken also expressed concern regarding a purchase order of $49,700 for the "marketing" of Issue 3.
Migliorini said he takes full responsibility for the expenditure and said it was for public education.
"It costs money to disspell lies," Migliorini said. "It's incumbent upon this mayor, this administration to educate the general public about the issues, the truth of the issues. This city is in a fiscal crisis."
In other business, the city also hired five new part-time firefighters: Clifford Bender, Matthew Duplaga, Daniel Edwards, Ryan Nutter and Robert Wolf, as well as part-time fire inspector David Smith.
Capt. Brian Ripley said having a larger pool of part-time firefighters keeps the city from having to pay the full-timers overtime. He added some of the current part-timers are interviewing and/or training for full-time positions with other departments, which keeps them from filling shifts in Macedonia.
"There is a turnover with part-time because they start out they have no full-time job so they work as many hours as they can, then they get a full-time job and they cut back," Ripley said.
Briana Barker: 330-541-9432