City of Bucyrus Administration Report
from Mayor Reser and SSD Wagner
May 18, 2020
Bucyrus entered a new phase last week in the economic recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 virus with the opening on our retail businesses on Tuesday. We pledge our support to our small business community and we urge shoppers to patronize our businesses—socially distanced, of course. Welcome back!
The SBA still has funds available to any small business that missed the first round or the Paycheck Protection Loan. Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to aid your business in the time of need. Many thanks to the Bucyrus Chamber of Commerce, the Crawford Partnership, our local accountants and bankers who worked tirelessly in helping get out the word on the program. There is still time.
Phone conferences continue to be an important part of our week. We are in conference with the White House, the State House, Ohio Municipal League Mayor’s conference and our local Health Department on a weekly basis. In addition, Congressman Jordan hosted a phone conference last week on the SBA program that was mentioned above.
We are thrilled that the stage at Schines Art Park is being installed beginning this week. We couldn’t have done this without the generosity of North Central State College Foundation which donated the stage that was on their campus. Thom and Susan Cathcart owners of Bucyrus RailCar Repair repaired and painted the stage without a cost to taxpayers! Remember that the funding for the installation is part of the ODNR grant that was received in 2018.
Our administration is looking very closely at all expenses as tax revenue has taken a substantial hit due to the COVID-19 virus. We will have to make tough decisions about personnel issues in order to balance our budget, which is required by State law. In addition, we do not have a rainy-day fund so we must act sooner that we would like to act in reducing costs. Many AFSCME members and non-union workers at City Hall have agreed to reduce hours, saving precious Enterprise and General Fund monies. This is a difficult time but we will weather the financial storm.
The last economic downturn began in 2008 and it was 2013 before tax revenue rebounded to 2007 levels. We don’t expect the downturn to last as long but we do expect a similar drop in revenue. Layoffs were felt in the Police, Dispatch and Fire Department. We will know more about the effects of the virus on our tax revenues at the end of each month and we will share them with you.
Mayor Reser vetoed (for the first time) legislation that would add six firefighters to the FD in 2021 in anticipation of adding EMS service in 2022. This would be done through the SAFER Grant that pays for firefighters that are added to the FD. The Administration suggests waiting for the Dr. William Kramer report on the addition of EMS to the Fire Department before deciding on a course of action. The Administration is concerned about a requirement of the Grant that eliminates layoffs from the Fire Department for 3 ½ years, with the Police Department and Dispatch taking 100% of the staff reduction. This is especially troubling in that the safety of the citizenry will be reduced and special assignments like the School Resource Program could be eliminated. We are concerned about attracting new residents and businesses to town if the Police Department is compromised by an unfair reduction in staffing and we believe that layoffs should be evenly felt through all Safety Forces, not just the Police Department, if that needs to happen.
We will be back next week but, in the meantime, remember to social distance, wash hands, and #BeKindBucyrus! May God bless us all.
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