The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

Council hears year-end city finance report

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Van Wert City Council heard about some economic development highlights from 2020 — several of which will continue into this year — while also receiving an end-of-year report on city finances during a brief meeting held to open the new year’s legislative activity.

Van Wert County Economic Development Director Stacy Adam provides a recap of 2020 economic development activity during Monday’s City Council meeting. photos by Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Stacy Adam provided an overview of 2020 economic activity, citing a number of projects that will come to fruition this year.

She first announced a new project by Trucent Inc., a Michigan-based company that is expanding its operations and has acquired the former Varco-Pruden building at 1202 Industrial Drive for its fluid recovery and regeneration operations. Those operations include fluid separation for metalworking and manufacturing, industrial fluid control, plant process optimization, corn oil extraction, and oil flow optimization. The company plans to renovate the building and be operational by the spring and has begun recruiting the 21 employees it plans to hire initially in Van Wert — creating an annual payroll of more than $1 million. Total investment for the project is estimated at $12.5 million.

“Having Trucent choose Van Wert for their expansion is a great testament to the business environment here,” Adam noted. “We are pleased to be able to work with Trucent, local economic development partners, and regional and state officials to bring this business to our community.

Those projects include:

–ALMC LLC’s senior living complex in the Towne Center retail development that is scheduled to open in April and provide 75-80 new jobs and $2 million in annual payroll.

–Alliance Automation’s expansion and construction of a 130,000-square-foot building set to begin this spring. When completed, the project is expected to add 60 new jobs and $4 million in new annual payroll. Adam’s office assisted the project with site selection, annexation, JobsOhio incentive, and utility access issues.

–A new Dollar General store that plans to open this spring in Convoy. The VWAEDC assisted the project with site research and the purchase of land, as well as annexation to the village and utility access.

–Toledo Molding & Die’s $1.852 million project scheduled to be completed this spring that will add a new manufacturing line to its Delphos plant, and a projected 20 new jobs. Adam’s office helped secure a JobsOhio grant to train employees for the new line.

–The Greve Chrysler Jeep renovation/expansion project on West Ervin Road.

The VWAEDC is also assisting a developer on a plan to build a second 100,000-square-foot spec building in Vision Industrial Park, working on a flood remediation project along Maddox Creek in Vision Park and renewing options for the local mega-site development, and is partnering on the downtown development project spearheaded by the Van Wert County Foundation.

New development is badly needed in a community that was hard hit by an economic downturn related to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Auditor Martha Balyeat noted, although CARES Act funding helped the city tremendously in 2020, allowing the city to realize a $2 million General Fund carryover for the new year.

“We have not carried over $2 million in the General Fund in the 21 years I’ve been here,” she noted, although she added CARES Act funding and other state and federal dollars were primarily responsible for the unexpectedly large carryover.

The windfall funds allowed the city to maintain the carryover from 2019 and add to it last year, instead of having to spend 2019 carryover money on unpaid expenses that would have occurred because of the lower-than-expected General Fund revenues in 2020.

The General Fund avoided a projected operating deficit in the General Fund because of the financial windfalls of CARES Act and Workers’ Comp dollars. The city had revenues of $6.5 million in 2020, with expenditures of $6.1 million, leaving approximately $411,000 more in revenues than was spent last year.

Balyeat said $480,000 in CARES Act money was used to decrease General Fund expenses by paying a portion of police and fire salaries, while the city also received a workers’ compensation rebate of $228,000 in 2020.

Without the windfall federal and state money, the General Fund would have been down approximately $300,000 for the year, she added.

Moving forward, Balyeat said the city needs to hope for revenue growth over the next couple of years to ensure that carryover money isn’t depleted to cover budget deficits in those years.

Also Monday, Mayor Ken Markward presented a list of appointments and reappointments to local boards and commissioners. Those included the following:

Mayoral appointments not needing Council approval

Civil Service Commission — Mark Hartman was reappointed to a term ending in December 31, 2016.

Design Review Board — Jay Fleming was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2022.

Woodland Union Cemetery Board — David Mathew was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2022.

Council members use new Chromebook laptop computers purchased with CARES Act money.

Community Reinvestment Board — Rick Turner was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2023, and Stacy Adam was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2022.

Mayoral appointments needing Council approval (all approved by Council)

Board of Zoning Appeals — Greg Amstutz was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2025; Dennis Cummings was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2023; and Sam Laurent was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2022.

Board of Tax Review — Julia McGrath was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2021; and Paul Hoverman was reappointed to a term ending December 31, 2022.

Community Reinvestment Board — City Superintendent of Schools Mark Bagley was appointed to a term ending December 31, 2023, to replace former superintendent Vicki Brunn.

Legislatively, City Council unanimously approved on third and final reading an emergency ordinance setting water and sewer rates for 2021; and read for the second time an ordinance changing the west side of Middle Street, from Moberly to Cable streets, to a “no parking” zone.

Councilman At-Large Joel Penton was absent from the meeting and was excused.

The next meeting of Van Wert City Council will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, January 25, in Council Chambers on the second floor of the Municipal Building, 515 E. Main St.

POSTED: 01/12/21 at 1:48 am. FILED UNDER: News