Despite the coronavirus pandemic, city finances are about where they were expected to be through the first quarter of this year, city auditor Alex Butler said at Monday’s Hillsboro City Council meeting.
“So far, so good. Revenue is about what we expected it to be and expenses as well… so that is good,” Butler said.
He said the city recently received notice that it will receive $1,285,018 in American Rescue Act funds for 2021, distributed in two equal payments, one this year and one next year. He said this year’s payment will come within 60 days of enactment of the law, and next year’s will come no earlier than within 12 months of the first payment.
“We look forward to receiving those funds and deciding how they will be used,” Butler said.
The city has yet to receive specific guidance on how those funds can be used, but Butler said he has heard that possible uses will be more broad than those for CARES Act funds received last year.
In her report to council, safety and service director Brianne Abbott said street sweeping has begun to remove grit and debris from the city roadways. She said it would be appreciated if local residents could move their vehicles off the road until that process is complete.
Abbott also said the fountain in front of the Highland County Courthouse will be operating for the second season in coming weeks and that new flashing lights and schools zone signs have been installed in front of the Hillsboro City Schools.
At the end of Abbott’s report, council member Ann Morris asked about the new digital sign placed in front of Colony Park where the former Colony Theatre was located.
It was previously reported that funds for the sign, which mayor Justin Harsha said Monday cost in the vicinity of $49,000, came from CARES Act funding.
Harsha said the sign was purchased from Chad Abbott of Chad Abbot Signs, who provided the lowest bid. Chad Abbott is the husband of safety and service director Brianne Abbott.
As previously reported by The Times-Gazette, the new sign is in full compliance with city ordinances, according to Harsha, who said it had been approved by both city council and the Hillsboro Design Review Board.
Harsha said Monday that there is still work to be done around the sign, including adding the old ticket booth from the Colony Theatre.
When everything is completed surrounding the sign, Harsha previously said he thinks it will fit in well with the look of the historic business district.
In the mayor’s report to council, Harsha said a tournament held two weeks ago at the new disc golf course at Liberty Park drew 68 participants.
“It looks like it’s going to be an activity for people to enjoy,” he said.
The mayor also said the city raised $1,125 in donations for scholarships for three Hillsboro High School seniors and that the city will be matching those donations up to $1,500 with plans to award two $1,000 scholarships and one $500 scholarship to graduating HHS seniors this year. He said the city hopes to announce the winners soon.
In other news from the meeting, Resolution 21-18 was adopted, allowing the city to increase appropriations in the general fund. Butler said the Hillsboro Police Department roof is leaking and it will cost about $35,000 to repair. He said insurance will reimburse the city for the $35,000, but the city needs to cover the cost for now so the project can get started.
Council president Tom Eichinger said the city received two notices from the Ohio Division of Liquor, one for James Mootz Downtown Boro at 108 Gov. Trimble Place and one from Speedway at 247 W. Main St. Eichinger said that since there were no objections to the requests at Monday’s meeting, they will be sent back to the state as approved.
Four other pieces of legislation that were to be presented to council as emergencies had to be tabled because there were not enough council members present to approve emergency legislation. Council members Mark Middleton and Patty Day were both excused from the meeting for personal reasons.
A special meeting of council has been set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 14. It will be held via ZOOM.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.