Council begins levy process for streets, parks

By Kevin O’Boyle [email protected]

BROOKVILLE – At their June 16 meeting, members of Brookville’s City Council approved taking the first step in placing levies on the Nov. 3 election ballot as a way to help fund street maintenance projects and perform maintenance and improvements in the city parks.

The first step was approving a resolution that requested the Montgomery County Auditor to certify the millage amounts for a street levy, which would generate $500,000 annually, and $125,000 for parks.

According to information from City Manager Sonja Keaton, the Auditor’s office has 10 days to produce the certification. Council will then vote to approve submitting the levy requests, which in order to be on the Nov. 3 ballot have to be received by the Montgomery County Board of Elections by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 5.

Council will have three meetings, July 7 and 21, and Aug. 4, to approve the legislation for the levies.

Following the June 16 meeting Keaton explained that with Brookville’s declining finances, due to reductions in funds from the state of Ohio, plus declining municipal income tax receipts due to multiple employers leaving the city as well as employers who shut down due to COVID-19 pandemic reasons, the city has been relying on its general fund revenues, generated from income taxes, too much.

“We are transferring a lot out of the general fund,” Keaton said, citing that in 2019 the city transferred $500,000 for street maintenance and $150,000 for parks programs.

“This (the levies) will take the burden off of the general fund,” she added.

In a power point presentation at5 the June 16 meeting Keaton showed slides that said that the city, as recently as 2017 had a street program which saw 3,119 tons of asphalt used for city streets.

In 2018 the city used 890.4 tons and in 2019 the city saw 650 tons used.

Two slides in the presentation asked the question, are our paving dollars keeping up with deterioration in Brookville?

Keaton included a comment from the state of Ohio Auditor’s Web site, which stated, “Cities that have had a long time of under funding resurfacing budgets will eventually end up having to come up with very large sums of money in order to play catch up resurfacing and possibly have to rebuild some of their streets.”

“We used to do a lot of street resurfacing,” Keaton said. “I would like to see us start redoing that process, so we don’t have to rebuild (streets).”

Keaton and Council members did discuss how to present, as well as when, the need for the levies to the citizens. Those meetings have not been scheduled yet.

She did present to council a list of projects needed in the city parks, including replacing the lights at the large adult softball diamond at Golden Gate Park, as well as replacing playground structures at both Ward and Westbrook Parks.

“They have seen their life,” Keaton said of those structures which were obtained through Ohio Nature Works grants about 20 years ago.

The power point presentation, as well as a detailed look at the finances of the city of Brookville, is available from the city.

The Council members approved making the alley that runs from Mulberry Street to the municipal parking lot adjacent to the U.S. Post Office as well as behind the Brookville Express location, one-way traffic, travelling east.

The need for the change from two-way traffic was necessitated when the Post Office moved the mail collection box that was on Mulberry Street onto the alley.

Council also approved starting the process to revamp the entrance area into the Brookville Municipal Building off of Sycamore Street.

Currently there is no separation from the door to the front office workers. Citing a shooting incident at the Clay Township Offices on Arlington Road in 2018, as well as documented instances where people enter the Municipal Building thinking it is the police station, it was felt that city worker safety was necessary.

The city has received approximately $9,000 in CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) funding, with approximately $84,240 expected to still come.

The city spent the first receipt of CARES Act funds, Keaton said, on obtaining Personal Protection Equipment for city buildings and workers to lessen the spread of COVID-19.

Keaton received permission from Council to pay for the city building improvements with CARES Act funds.

The project will see the erection of a glass walled lobby off the entrance, with a counter that will have windows like you may see at a bank or other secure facility, that would separate the public and city workers.

A door will be placed off that lobby if the member of the public is to be allowed further into the

City building.

The next meeting of Brookville City Council is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7. Whether that meeting is to be open to the public, a virtual (online) meeting, or a combination of those formats has not yet been determined.

Members of the public can request information from the city on how to be included in the virtual meeting if that is the route taken.

By Kevin O’Boyle [email protected]