Council to deal with appropriations

By Frank Lewis -

Portsmouth City Council will be kept busy Monday night as they mull over appropriations legislation during the City Manager’s Conference Agenda portion of their meeting.

Portsmouth Auditor Trent Williams is requesting Council appropriate $288,715.74 to cover pensionable funds in response to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, that the city owes because it did not pay to the pension from the 120 hours of holiday pay dating back to 2003. The appropriation will come out of the General Fund which currently carries a balance of $698,658.62.

On July 13, 2016 there was a meeting with the Auditor of State regarding the city’s current fiscal watch designation at to discuss several financial situations. One concern that the Auditor of State’s office had was $90,789.81 of expenses in the Community Development Fund 243 in which there was no appropriations. They requested that the situation be corrected immediately. The expense was for the Water Plant rapid mix project. The funds for the project were appropriated through Ordinance 2015-48 passed on July 27, 2015 and there was $150,000 appropriated in Fund 243.

The city plans to create a Downtown Redevelopment District after the Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 233 with an effective date of Aug. 5, 2016. The 2016 budget contained $30,000 for personnel services. Since the beginning of the year the expenses include the $20,000 for an appraisal for the marting’s building and the Adelphia building. Currently there is $922.50 balance remaining in the account. The city administration intends to enter into a contract with the Montrose Group to created a Downtown Redevelopment District which is estimated to cost between $20,000 and $30,000. City Council will be asked to appropriate an additional $40,000 to that account. The Downtown Redevelopment District operates similar to a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District.

Council will be asked to deal with the Phase II Environmental Assessment at a cost of $98,579.50. The city is currently in the process of performing a water plant needs analysis as a necessary first step in the process of replacing what the city manager says is a badly deteriorated water plant, setting approximately 2020 for the replacement project. As a part of the project the city will need to acquire a parcel of land behind the current water plant. The city partnered with the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) since they have been working for several years to obtain and reuse/redevelop the former New Boston Coke Plant property. The Brownfield Restoration Group has provided the proposal and cost at $98,579.50.

The city must appropriate $100,000 into an account to pay for the Phase II assessment.

By Frank Lewis

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.