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Mayfield Mayor Bodnar’s state-of-village address speaks of good times now, uncertain future

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 4/24/2020 By Jeff Piorkowski,

MAYFIELD, Ohio -- Mayor Brenda Bodnar delivered her state-of-the-village address during Village Council’s first-ever Zoom conference meeting. The address, Bodnar noted, was the first time such an address had been given electronically.

Of course, these firsts were made necessary due to the coronavirus emergency, which was on Bodnar’s mind as she opened her address stating, “The state of the village remains very strong, but the future is a little uncertain -- for us, and everyone else.”

The mayor told of how tax revenues for the remainder of the year, the future of certain capital projects, and the holding of summer entertainment and recreational activities cannot yet be predicted.

She began her address by discussing finances. Looking back to last year, Bodnar said, “Two-thousand-nineteen was another strong financial year in Mayfield Village. Our income tax collection totaled over $20.7 million, and that’s an increase of almost $500,000 over 2018.”

Total general fund revenues for 2019, she said, amounted to about $27 million, also an increase over 2018 1/4 u2032s general fund revenues.

Later in the meeting, Finance Director Ron Wynn said that, through March, the village’s income tax collections were $274,000 greater than they were in 2019. Many area communities experienced healthy finances through March, but Wynn said that with April income tax collections already gathered from the Regional Income Tax Agency, the village still stands $228,000 ahead through April of the first four months of 2019.

Wynn said that in May, the village will start to see the effects of the pandemic on income taxes. “In addition to reductions in income tax,” Wynn said, “we can expect to see reductions in our investment earnings, our admissions tax, gasoline tax and local government funding. I’ll try and quantify all these and give council a report in a couple weeks.”

Speaking of the times brought on by the virus, Bodnar said, “We will continue to persevere through this challenge as families, friends and good neighbors.” Also helping the village get through what may lie ahead is the fact that Bodnar reported that Mayfield has a general fund balance, as of Dec. 31, 2019, of $24.8 million.

The village, she said spent $18.9 million in 2019, about $1.1 million more than the year before.

Speaking of 2020 1/4 u2032s uncertainties, Bodnar noted that this was to be the year that the village’s Civic Center was to undergo upgrades, including adding an elevator and ADA-compliant restrooms, and/or possibly redoing the front of the building and adding a room for rental purposes, or tearing down the building and constructing a new one.

“There’s much more conversation to be had before making a decision on how to proceed," she said of the Civic Center, "and until we know the depth of the revenue impact from the coronavirus we are going to experience this year, this project is being postponed and will be revisited in 2021, or 2022.”

Further, Bodnar said that the Master Plan Steering Committee met in February and decided that the plan’s current version lacked in direction regarding future zoning and land use. The committee decided to get the expertise of a planner before going forward, and to consider more the village’s town center, which includes the Civic Center, in any master planning.

“I concur with their recommendation, so the master plan is on hold while we work on these avenues,” Bodnar said.

As for the summer’s planned fun, Bodnar said that the village’s facilities and recreation programming “are still second to none.”

Again due to the virus, she added, “This year, programming and entertainment at The Grove (amphitheater) are planned, but as of this writing, we await word on whether going forward with the programming, or any special events, will be possible.”

Bodnar spoke of how the village is working with small businesses and helping them apply for federal SBA loans. She told of Skoda Construction’s Montebello housing development currently being built off Highland Road, and of the plan to extend the sidewalk along Wilson Mills Road, from Hanover Drive to Echo Drive.

She mentioned that the fire department was in need of three new full-time firefighters. The Mayfield Village Fire Department includes several part-time firefighters who work full-time for other communities’ fire departments. During the coronavirus crisis, however, many cities are not allowing their full-time firefighters to work part-time for other departments.

Later in the council meeting, legislation was approved to hire three full-time firefighters at an expected total cost of $375,000.

Contracts approved

During the meeting, council approved three-year contracts, through 2022, with unions representing the village’s police and fire departments. Police officers and firefighters were each given raises of 2.75 percent for each year of the contract, making for a total three-year increase of 8.25 percent.

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