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Municipalities to receive influx from state gas tax

With an additional $4,323,871 in state gas tax funding coming during state fiscal year to Washington, Morgan, Monroe and Noble County townships and municipalities, local officials are still figuring out how to best use the influx of funds.

According to the spreadsheet provided by Ashley Rittenhouse, Ohio Department of Transportation District 10 public information officer, the $4.3 million increase is sending an additional $56,729 to each township, up to $147,205 from $90,475 in annual state contribution to local funds for the state fiscal year 2020 (July 2019-June 2020).

“The district is able to move forward with projects that would have been on hold if the fuel tax increase had not been approved,” she noted, saying while the primary focus for the last couple of years has been on landslips other state route upgrades still needed state attention.

ODOT has also released statements suggesting more opportunities for local municipalities to see fewer restrictions for local matching dollars for safety projects.

“Funding for safety was increased last year as a part of the new gas tax and budget. The increased funds went to target the Governor’s Intersection List,” said Rittenhouse. “ODOT is waiving the 10 percent match that is normally required for local projects. As of now, this is temporary – only for calendar year 2020. By waiving the 10 percent match we are hoping that locals with safety issues that cannot provide a match will submit eligible projects to ODOT.”

She said if local governing bodies have an eligible location there still other state requirements necessary to receive funding.

“They need to have a study completed that links the crash pattern to the countermeasure,” she noted. “If ODOT feels it’s a valid project and agrees with the countermeasures, we help them apply. These are the bigger projects and they can only apply in April and September. If the amount that they are asking for is small, we don’t require a study – just a crash analysis showing the problem. We can help them apply for those pretty much year-round.”

But local allocations are also part of legislative discussion across southeast Ohio, what varies are the allocations to specific cities and villages in each of the four counties.

Washington County

In Marietta City Council, Finance Chairman Mike Scales has prepared for the discussion of use of the city’s increase (estimated at $292,006) from last summer’s Ohio House Bill 62, up from the original projected income of $466,947 to $758,953.

“I’ve gone back to 2016 for all of the income the gasoline tax has brought to the city in revenue by year, it’s a significant jump,” he said Friday. “Now as we’re picking the streets for this year and next year’s paving hopefully we won’t have to go out so much for loans.”

Scales explained the state’s gasoline tax revenue funnels into two of the city’s funds: the city’s general Streets Fund and the State Highway Improvements Fund.

City Auditor Sherri Hess said the revenue, which is distributed monthly to the city from state coffers, started to increase in the fall last year.

Monthly distributions before the house bill passed ranged from $30,685.59 in April 2019, to $35,499.30 in June.

“But then we saw the payments really increase in September and October,” explained Hess, noting $56,939.66 and $61,822.61 in respective distributions.

Hess’s clerk Yolanda Linscott explained that when the state distribution comes to the city, it is split 92.5 percent to the city’s streets (general use) fund while the remaining 7.5 percent goes to the state highways improvement pot.

Streets Committee Chairwoman Susan Boyer noted during the last joint committee meeting with Scales that the municipal legislature is going to consider additional focus on streets otherwise ineligible for state, regional and federal granting programs in the coming weeks through use of not only this increased revenue but also the supplemental income tax passed by city residents in the 2018 general election.

Belpre Corporation, with a markedly smaller population base to draw upon than the county seat, will have discretion over a projected increase of $161,615 in state funding, up from $258,439 to $420,053 in this current fiscal year.

Beverly Village: an increase of $25,711 from $42,210 to $66,981 in state funding.

Lowell Village: an increase of $13,329 from $21,315 to $34,644.

Lower Salem Village: an increase of $1,385, from $2,214 to $3,599.

Macksburg Village: an increase of $4,739, from $7,578 to $12,316.

Matamoras Village: an increase of $16,337, from $26,124 to $42,461.

The remaining four counties, which only have incorporated villages, are set to receive a range of additional funding (outside of all townships receiving the $56,729 bump to $147,205 across the state) from $606 to $43,579.

Monroe County

• Antioch: an increase of $2,705, from $4,325 to $7,030.

• Beallsville: an increase of $10,148, from $16,288 to $26,376.

• Clarington: an increase of $9,932, from $15,882 to $25,814.

• Graysville: an increase of $1,926, from $30,080 to $5,005.

• Jerusalem: an increase of $3,354, from $5,363 to $8,717.

• Lewisville: an increase of $5,258, from $8,408 to $13,666.

• Miltonsburg: an increase of $606, from $969 to $1,575.

• Stafford: an increase of $2,056, from $3,287 to $5,343.

• Wilson: an increase of $2,900, from $4,637 to $7,536.

• Woodsfield: an increase of $53,706, from $85,881 to $139,587.

Morgan County

• Chesterhill: an increase of $7,054, from $11,280 to $18,334.

• Malta: an increase of $14,000, from $22,387 to $36,387.

• McConnelsville: an increase of $37,629, from $60,172 to $97,801.

• Stockport: an increase of $10,668, from $17,059 to $27,726.

Noble County

• Batesville: an increase of $2,748, from $4,394 to $7,142.

• Belle Valley: an increase of $5,410, from $8,650 to $14,060.

• Caldwell: an increase of $43,579, from $69,697 to $113,267.

• Dexter City (an incorporated village): an increase of $6,275, from $10,034 to $16,309.

• Sarahsville: an increase of $3,614 from $5,778 to $9,392.

• Summerfield: an increase of $6,621, from $10,588 to $17,209.

Likewise, these numbers are each projected to marginally increase in state fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) with townships anticipating a state gasoline tax revenue of $148,827, a 1.1 percent increase.

Janelle Patterson can be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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