Mayor Jerry Mazur
Mayor Jerry Mazur

DHI Media Staff Writer

VAN WERT – With money for the local budget continuing to sag due to several years of cut state funds, this is the year, Van Wert Mayor Jerry Mazur said, that local residents are going to have to come to grips with what they are going to do to bring funding back to city coffers.

“The Governor’s funding for us has been cut down $800,000 in the last five years,” said Mazur. “It is incumbent upon myself and the council to bring this money back to the people in a positive way. We lived within this budget with less revenue and inflation. It’s time for the people to start asking the hard questions.”

Mazur said that city officials are currently working on legislation to get a .28-percent increase on income tax for city residents on the May ballot. Two more votes are needed to put the increase on the ballot. The votes are expected to happen at the next two City Council meetings.

Very soon, Mazur said, he and city officials are going to start holding town hall meetings in various parts of the city. In the meantime, Mazur said that city residents are encouraged to call or text him at 419-203-4100 to ask him questions.

“I feel so strongly about this that I am willing to serve as a one-term mayor to get this accomplished,” said Mazur. “We are going for the future. We are getting the budget ready for the 2018 and 2019 years.”

Mazur said that taxpayers voted in city income taxes of 1-percent in the 1970s. Later in 1997 they voted in a .50-percent increase for street and road improvement. In 2000, a .22-percent was added for a police and fire fund for capital projects. Later, voters amended to use two-thirds percent to pay salaries and fringe benefits for fire and police.

“Now we are cutting into reserves to buy equipment for the future,” observed Mazur.

“This all has an effect on economic development. When future businesses come through town and we don’t have any options to cut services, what are they going to do?”

Recently Stacy Adam was hired to be the new executive director of the Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation, a unified city and county group.

“This is a 2016 accomplishment I am most proud of,” said Mazur. “I am proud to see that the council has taken this step to unify economic development.”

In building off of his 2016 accomplishment, Mazur hopes the efforts of the economic development group will in turn help the city’s financial situation as well.

“We are trying to find businesses to come to town by trying to do what we can with ‘Jobs Ohio,’” said Mazur. “If we bring companies to town and increase workers, it will increase the income tax, increase tax to work with and keep jobs in town.”