The city of Portsmouth’s Sewer Fund continues to stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. For the month of July, the fund shows a deficit balance of $1,444,664. That deficit is an increased of $792,734 over last year. In contrast, the city’s Water Fund is $252,880 in the hole which amounts to $365,359 deeper than it was at the same time last year when the balance was positive at $112,479.
One of the problems that has plagued the city is the large number of waterline breaks, and City Manager Derek K. Allen has his mind set on a project that he hopes will eliminate that problem.
In the last couple of years if you came up on a major waterline break on Kinney’s Lane, in addition to your obvious frustration of having to take a detour, you may have also said – “Something’s got to be done about this happening again and again.” Now, that’s the plan – a $3 million plan.
The city of Portsmouth intends to apply for funding for what will be known as the Sunrise Reservoir Main Replacement project.
On Friday, June 10, 2016, the City Waterworks Director Sam Sutherland, Community Development Director Tracy Shearer and City Manager Derek K. Allen traveled to Columbus and made a presentation to apply for $2 million of Army Corps 594 funds. The primary objective of the Section 594 Program is to provide design and construction assistance to non-Federal interests for carrying out water-related environmental infrastructure and resource protection and development projects in the state of Ohio.
“It’s our intent to get $2 million of grant funding to the city of Portsmouth for the replacement of this (water) line,” Allen said. “We’ve been in discussion for several weeks now about applying for Appalachian Regional Commission or ARC funding, making application to the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) for Issue 2 (called Issue 1 now) money. Also our CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) formula money.”
Allen said the city is applying for $500,000 in CDBG funding, a new revenue source the city had not tapped into before.
Meanwhile, all other funds are in the black. The General Fund has a balance of $1,007,452, up $540,403 from last year. The Street Fund balance stood at $290,464 for July, up $319,579 from last year’s deficit balance of $29,115.
The Sanitation Fund was at $611,100, up from last year’s balance of $414,461, while the former millstone fund, the Insurance Fund has a positive balance of $606,024, increased over the prior year when that fund carried only a $90,867 balance.
In the General Fund, the total General Fund income tax collections for July totaled $1,144,859, up $376,198 from last year for an accumulated total compared to last year of $1,645,359.
Portsmouth Auditor Trent Williams said the new tax revenue collected from the additional half-a-percent increase for July was $257,581.
Total income tax collections in July, including both the General and capital funds were up by $397,123 for an accumulated total compared to last year of $1,730,906.
Workers repair a waterline break on Seventh Street in Portsmouth
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.