(Posted July 27, 2018)
By Amanda Ensinger, Staff Writer
As the village of Mount Sterling continues to pull itself out of a fiscal emergency, officials are looking at ways to generate more revenue for the village. Possibilities include selling water and ensuring that everyone is paying their fair share of RITA taxes.
“There have been questions about water and filling tanks,” said Misty Vance, Mount Sterling utilities clerk, at the July 23 village council meeting. “We have farmers who are interested in water for their crops, people who want to fill up pools. and a variety of others who are interested in buying water, however, there is nothing that states what our minimum fee is, so we need to talk about that.”
Fiscal officer Courtney Bricker agreed it could be a great source of revenue for the village.
“If we are producing the water then why don’t we sell it?” Bricker said. “I have been calling other municipalities to see how they handle this. We are going to reevaluate this and come back with some recommendations and suggestions. There is a lot of potential here.”
The village also is continuing to collect on back RITA taxes owed by village residents and anyone who has done work in the village. Recently, letters were sent to anyone who owes. The efforts are resulting in some payments.
“We continue to receive delinquent tax bills and have people calling who have received our letters,” Bricker said.
Keeping with the theme of finances, village leaders had a heated discussion about hiring a new maintenance and mechanic employee for the village. Mayor Billy Martin expressed his frustration that no one has been hired.
“We are short on help and if someone is sick or out, we are restricted on what we can do,” Martin said. “We have talked about this for two or three months. We have advertised and accepted resumes. What else can I do?”
Council members said they are not ready to hire someone because they have not reviewed the resumes, a job description has yet to be created, and a salary and benefits package needs to be set.
“I don’t feel comfortable voting on this without seeing the financials this person will be offered and their qualifications,” said Rebecca Burns, council member. “To blindly introduce this to council without everything being decided isn’t fair.”
Council agreed to hold a work session to hash out the details.
“I see where you are coming from, but you need to understand my frustration,” Martin said. “I have a community to run 24/7, and we don’t have enough staff. We used to operate with six people and now we have a problem with operating with three.”
The village still plans to host movie nights for the community. Council approved paying the $855 licensing free to show three movies. They also confirmed they have purchased a 200-inch screen and thanked American Legion Post 417 for their $500 donation toward the screen.
“We are looking at having the movie nights either later this month or in August, September and October,” said Jack Dill, director of parks and recreation. “We will have the movie nights at the gazebo and will have free popcorn.”
Residents can watch the village website, www.mtsterling.org, for movie night schedule announcements.