Jackson Center appropriates CARES Act funds

JACKSON CENTER – During the Sept. 28 Jackson Center Village Council meeting, council appropriated Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act money to reimburse the village and to support two local businesses.

The village received $59,971.21 in two distributions ($39,992.71 and $19,978.50) of CARES Act money. These are federal monies provided to local governments to be used for expenditures with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.

These funds came with many restrictions on their use, and the village will use some of the money to reimburse itself for hand sanitizer, masks and gloves that were purchased for use by village employees. Another portion of the money will be used for a small business relief grant program.

Any money that is not used by the village will need to be returned to the Shelby County auditor.

Council suspended the three-reading rule and approved an ordinance that appropriated $39,000 of the federal money for reimbursement to the village and for the small business relief grant program.

Council then approved an ordinance awarding small business grants through the village’s COVID-19 business relief grant program and declaring an emergency.

Applications were distributed to approximately 10 small businesses, said Ed Maxwell, zoning enforcement officer and economic development director. The village has received two completed applications from Becky Miller, of Elder Theatre, and Susie Wilkins, of Split Decision.

The community investment corporation met Sept. 25 and reviewed the applications and thought everything the applicants requested fell within the guidelines.

The CIC recommended $10,000 be given to Split Decision and $15,000 be given to Elder Theatre. The reason for the difference in the amount is that Elder Theatre was completely closed for six months and the business’ main source of income was from the revenues of selling popcorn.

Maxwell said the money will be given to these two small businesses, and they will need to provide the village with proof of either spending the money on qualifying expenses or that it is for lost wages as the village will need to keep these documents on file for when its is audited.

If they cannot spend the money on qualifying expenditures or lost wages, the businesses would need to return the money to the village so the village could return it to the Shelby County auditor.

In other news, council member Larry Wahrer said the village’s August receipts exceeded expenditures by a little more than $35,000.

The largest expenditures were a little more than $224,000 for a substation debt service payment and a final payment of $150,000 to Tom’s Construction for the Jackson, Washington and College street project.

Income tax receipts were $117,000, which is $7,600 less than last year, so the village is down about 7.5% from last year’s receipts. If this trend continues, Jackson Center probably will have receipts of about $87,000 less than last year.

Currently, the village’s water, sewer and electric funds are all operating in the black. The refuse fund is in the red by just about $2,000, and the ending cash balance is down just under 12% compared to last year.

All in all, the village’s financial outlook is really not too bad considering what it could be, Wahrer said.

A third reading was held for a resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the budget commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor and declaring an emergency.

Each year the Shelby County auditor presents to the Shelby County Budget Commission the most recent assessed valuation information.

The auditor goes over the tax revenue estimates for each levy. The Budget Commission then determines the amounts and rates and authorizes the necessary tax levies certifying them to the county auditor.

The village must send back a resolution accepting the amounts and rates by Oct. 1 of each year.

For the fiscal year of 2021, the amounts required from general property tax approved by the Budget Commission and the county auditor’s estimated tax rates for the inside 10 mill limitation are $49,695 for the village of Jackson Center.

Voters passed a 2.00 mill levy on Nov. 6, 2018, that is outside the 10 mill limitation, and the county auditor has estimated it will generate $45,838. This is a slight increase of $868 from the fiscal year 2020 estimated amounts of the inside 10 mill limitation of $48,827 and $805 from the outside 10 mill limitation of $45,033.

An ordinance authorizing the village administrator to enter into a community reinvestment area agreement with Todd and Emily Raterman and declaring an emergency was tabled at council’s Sept. 14 meeting. It remained on the table for the Sept. 28 meeting with no action taken.

Mayor Scott Klopfenstein read an proclamation recognizing Oct. 4-10 as Public Power Week. This proclamation is to bring awareness to the many benefits of public power.

Village Administrator Bruce Metz reported that during the American Municipal Power annual conference, the village of Jackson Center received the System Improvement Award for the Jerry Drive substation and the Electric Department received a safety award for zero incidents and time lost for last year. Jackson Center also had an individual win a Hard Hat Award, which goes to someone who shows top notch safety and safety procedures. The Hard Hat Award has not been presented yet to the individual.

Metz received a quote regarding an addition to the current service building that would include four more bays. This would be a 36 foot by 120 foot addition at an estimated cost of $375,000.

Metz said he spoke with a local bank that quoted a 10 year loan of $350,000 with an annual payment with an interest rate of 2.75%. Metz wanted to know what council’s thoughts were on trying to secure the loan before the end of the year to lock in the low interest rate. Council members instructed Metz to move forward with the project.

Council also entered executive session for the purpose of discussing the purchase or sale of real estate. No action was taken.