Twinsburg Finance Director: City tax revenue down nearly 10% due to COVID-19 layoffs

Ken Lahmers, Correspondent
City Council learned that tax revenue is down nearly 10% trough August due to COVID-19 layoffs.

TWINSBURG -- City officials received some bad news at the Aug. 25 council meeting, as Finance Director Sarah Buccigross reported 2020 local income tax revenue was down $1.64 million (about 9.9%) through August, mostly because of layoffs related to the coronavirus crisis.

She said the 2021 budgeting process is under way, and the city will budget “as if the COVID-19 world is still with us.” She added department heads have already requested $6 million for capital improvements. A board will examine the requests and decide what projects and expenses will be funded.

Buccigross said establishing a budget for 2021 was going to be a challenge.

“We want to hang on to as much of our reserves as we can while providing as many services to residents. We’re looking at a multi-year recovery plan," she said.

Meanwhile, Buccigross said the city will spend a little over $500,000 in CARES Act funding through Summit County for police and dispatchers’ payroll needs, and additional funding through the state for restroom safety upgrades, a CAD connection with Macedonia and personal temperature checkpoints at 10 city buildings.

If additional money becomes available, she noted it could be used for small business grants or mortgage assistance, which would be administered by the county. “We’re exploring every option for our relief funds,” added Mayor Ted Yates.

Also at the Aug. 25 session, Council declared the city’s intention to receive reimbursement from the Ohio Public Works Commission’s capital improvements program of up to $825,000 for the Dooridge Drive water line replacement project.

The estimated total cost of the project is $1.65 million. City Engineer Amy Mohr said Dooridge Drive is in Glenwood Acres and is part of the city’s capital improvements program to replace aging transit water lines with ductile iron.

Council authorized the mayor to enter into a lease agreement with Kempthorn Inc. of Canton for two police department vehicles. The two-year lease would total $16,665 and would include a 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander SE and a 2016 GMC Terrain SLE1. When the lease ends, the vehicles will be returned to the dealership.

After positive recommendations from the planning commission, final site plans were approved for Liberty Road modifications near the Summit-Cuyahoga counties line and for New Adventures Day Care’s new building on the northwest corner of Darrow Road and Summit Commerce Park.

Council requested the Summit County fiscal officer to accept certification of delinquent sanitary sewer rentals and waterfund maintenance charges for placement on property owners’ tax duplicates.

New lieutenants sworn in prior to the Council session are Brian Laughlin, Joseph D’Ambrosia and Christopher Sorm. Each shift will now have one captain and two lieutenants.

During the caucus meeting, Council heard a presentation from Eric Albers of the Akron Zoo, which has 0.8-mill renewal and 0.4-mill additional levies on the Nov. 3 ballot. He noted annual attendance at the zoo rose from 114,139 in 2011 to 402,103 in 2019.

Director of Planning and Community Development Larry Finch reported a comprehensive plan commission is being assembled to update the plan. He said he expects about 20 residents to serve.

Councilman Bill Furey pointed out the Ethan’s Green Homeowners Association, not the city, is paying for landscaping improvements at Route 91 and Ethan’s Drive.

Councilwoman Maureen Stauffer reported the document shredding day scheduled for Sept. 26 has been canceled, as has the environmental commission’s October cleanup day.

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