State of the Village: Thornville’s future is bright
THORNVILLE – Thornville continues on its path of strong financial performance and vibrancy, said Thornville Mayor Gavin Renner in his 2014 State of the Village address.
Last year the village accomplished several key projects including repainting the water tower, repairing roads, and upgrading the sewer system. Also, Thornville contracted for a new trash service provider, adjusted water and sewer rates, and sold the former Thornville Hardware lot and some village vehicles.
“Fiscally the village continues to do well,” said Renner. He said the village’s end of the year balance was $1.8 million. Expenditures were $1.3 million and revenues were $1.36 million. “The village is well positioned to weather economic uncertainty” and any emergencies that may arise, said Renner.
Some major projects are on the horizon. Renner said while the state repaved Ohio 188 and plans to repave Ohio 204, the rest of the village’s roads continue to show their age and wear. The village began patching and crack sealing roads last year and will continue to do so this year. The village will also consider roads needing more serious attention.
The village’s Parks and Recreation levy is up for renewal this year. “Despite the strong performance of other village funds, the parks fund remains depleted,” said Renner. In addition, the pool fund remains at the bare minimum. “The pool itself is near a crisis point,” he said. “Expenses to repair or refurbish the pool are not appropriated at the level necessary to keep the pool operational. Funds to outright replace the pool are not available.” Renner said the village plans to ask residents for the renewal of the parks and recreation levy at its existing millage. “The village will explore ways to keep the pool open and the parks running,” he said. “Funds may need to be moved for this purpose.”
Renner said the village experienced several instances of vandalism and petty crime during 2013. The village police department identified those who were responsible and those people were held accountable.
Residents are experiencing adjustments to the water and sewer rates. While the rates were not raised, the first 2,000 gallons of water and sewer capacity are no longer included in the base rate.. “These changes were not made lightly,” said Renner. He said they were a result of a water and sewer rate study RCAP performed, which forecast expenditures would increase over time and that the village should begin to set aside money in its budgets to accommodate future repair or replacement of water and sewer system infrastructure.
“While the village was operating responsibly within its current budget, an increase will keep the village in a better position for the future,” said Renner, who added that the amount being collected from each customer to repay the OWDA loan for the wastewater treatment has been cut from $40 to $38.
Renner said a modest number of new homes were built in Thornville. “Particularly exciting to see is activity in the former Phase 2 subdivision of Thorn Hill,” he said. New lots are available. Renner said he is “cautiously optimistic that growth will continue in 2014.
During 2014, the village will continue their efforts to reduce inflow and infiltration issues into the sewer system. “Residents may be asked to look at their portion of the system to help meet EPA mandates,” said Renner. “Unfortunately, this may mean replacing clay and broken connections with new lines.” It may also mean removing sump pump and basement drains from the system. The village will keep residents posted.
“From a business and commercial standpoint, the village is faced with a number of chal- lenges,” said Renner. Thornville retail and commercial space remains vacant and a few businesses closed last year. Also, land reserved for future commercial development along Ohio 13 may be detached from the village. “While this area has not seen activity, the village believes this territory is important for the future growth of the community and will continue to pursue its options,” he said.
The downtown has vacancies, but it also has plenty of businesses whose owners work hard and continually demonstrate their commitment to the community, said Renner. And, the fuel station on Ohio 13 is renovated and under new ownership. “These give us hope that there is still opportunity to bring customers into the village, creating more opportunity for residents and business owners,” he said.
Renner said community support and volunteerism are cornerstones upon which the village operates. “Many, many residents contribute their time to various local events, clubs, churches, and other organizations,” he said. “Their time and commitment help to make this a great community to live.” Renner asked more citizens to consider volunteering in the community, adding that the village council has an opening and the planning and zoning board has two. “While it is a lot to ask to spend time away from family given that we all have work and busy lives, I ask that you consider contributing your time toward making the Village of Thornville a better place to live, work, and thrive.”