NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time since Niles was placed in a state of fiscal emergency three years ago, there was talk Thursday of finally ending it.
It’s not going to happen soon, but just the fact they’re talking about the fiscal emergency indicates the city is making real progress.
Tim Linter is the supervisor from the Ohio Auditor’s Office overseeing Niles’ fiscal emergency. At Thursday’s meeting of the commission overseeing the fiscal emergency, he set the tone from the start.
“We will present the year-end numbers for you and it is all really, really good news,” Linter said.
Linter started with the general fund, which ended 2016 with a positive balance of $398,000. It’s now positive by $2.3 million.
The water fund went from a $790,000 deficit to a positive balance of $236,000.
Sewer went from $1.2 million in the plus to $2.1 million.
Hospitalization was positive by $118,000. Now, it’s up to $667,000.
But, not all was perfect. Commission President Quentin Potter wanted the January numbers, but, they were not available because of Monday’s resignation of Treasurer Janet Rizer-Jones.
Mayor Tom Scarnecchia said the city has some qualified applicants for treasurer.
“Probably by Monday we will name the new treasurer,” he said.
The possibility of Niles being removed from fiscal emergency was also discussed at the meeting. But, two things must happen first — 30 accounting procedures must be put in place and a five-year plan must be adopted.
“We have to clean all these up before they can come out of emergency though,” said Nita Hendryx, a financial supervisor from the Ohio Auditor’s Office.
The city of Niles also has no deficit funds — it’s revenues are exceeding expenditures and overtime in the police and fire departments is down.
Scarnecchia also made a few announcements, one of which was that the police and fire departments are fully staffed and fully equipped.
He also said the new water meters will be installed this year.
Additionally, Scarnecchia said construction on the municipal building’s new roof has been delayed by weather and because someone with the company repairing it fell through. But, company officials said their insurance will pay for the damage.