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City of Wooster
November 2012

Reduce Services

Earned Income Tax


Winter Newsletter

Wooster is at a Crossroads: Message from the Mayor

he City of Wooster is at a crossroads. Beginning January 1, the citys finances will be hit hard by the loss of the inheritance tax, the loss of tangible personal property tax revenue and a huge reduction in local government fund dollars from the State of Ohio. As the Mayor of the City of Wooster, I am dedicated to communicating the fiscal realities of the city to its residents. Armed with the facts, the citizens of Wooster will determine the future of their Wooster. Over the past several weeks, city officials have been communicating with residents on the realities that the city is facing. In October, four ward meetings were held in which residents could attend to be given information, then stay afterwards to ask questions. Throughout the meetings, the most popular questions were taken and uploaded to www.woosteratcrossroads.com for others to view. We will continue to listen and answer questions. Questions can be submitted via the website above, as a written letter to myself or my administration or by attending any future community outreach events. Despite the looming cuts, the city has made efforts to retain fiscal responsibility through cutting over $2 million from its operating budget since 2008, including the reduction of staff by over 30 employees. We have negotiated with unions and all (labor, police and fire) have agreed to pay freezes through 2013 (fire through 2014). Despite these and other efforts, the reduction in revenue in 2013 will mandate one of two options: generate new revenue or drastically cut city services. Moving forward, the City of Wooster will continue to operate in a manner that is open, honest and transparent. We are committed to engaging our citizens for their opinions, questions and concerns, and will provide numerous additional opportunities for your voice to be heard, including a citywide meeting that will be held in early 2013. Thank you to all that came out to the ward meetings. We encourage you to keep up to date on all community outreaches by visiting www. woosteratcrossroads.com, by signing up to receive Wooster news in your email at www.woosteroh.com or by asking a city official.

Table of Contents
City of Wooster Background Information ............. 2 Current Economic Environment ........... 3 If it Passes, If it Fails ................... 4 Fire Division Fact Sheet ........................ 5 Police Department General Information ................................ 6-7 Division of Engineering: Project Costs and Status .................. 8-10 Recreation Community Services Fact Sheet ................................. 11

-Bob Breneman

Get Informed.

For more information please visit:

Wooster at a Crossroads
City of Wooster Background Information
The City of Wooster is currently operating at a 1% earned income tax rate, a rate amongst the lowest in Northeast Ohio

Earned income tax rate has been unchanged since 1970 To date, the City of Wooster has cut over $2 million from its budget, including the reduction of staff by over 30 employees

Reduce Services

Earned Income Tax


Where Do My Property Taxes Go?

The City of Wooster is dedicated to being open, honest and transparent. Our intention is to inform the residents regarding the current fiscal state of the city and the options we face as a community.
County - $0.14 School - $0.78 MRDD - $0.01 City - $0.07

Property taxes are taxes assessed on the owner of real estate, but where do those property taxes go? Property taxes influence a variety of entities, but the city only receives 7 cents on every dollar. The earned income tax provides the city with revenue necessary to operate the city. The chart below describes where your property taxes go:


Current Economic Environment

A significant reduction in state funding, and an overall revenue decline due to the economy has placed Wooster at a crossroads.
The City has two options:
Generate new revenue to support services. Significantly reduce services

An Earned Income Tax:

What IS taxed?
Wages Tips Self-employed earnings Partnership income Rental income

What IS NOT taxed?

Interest Dividends Capital gains Pensions Annuity income Unemployment Income from estates Social Security benefits

Possible .5% Earned Income Tax Increase

Approximately .25% of new revenue will go towards retaining services Approximately .25% of new revenue will go towards capital improvement projects

New earned income tax rate would be 1.5% still amongst the lowest in Northeast Ohio

This issue will be voted on by Wooster City council in December 2012 to be placed on the May 2013 ballot. The .5% increase would cost someone earning $50,000 per year an additional $20.83 per month


For more information please visit:

Wooster at a Crossroads
If It Passes
If the proposed earned income tax passes, the City of Wooster will be able to:
Continue offering its citizens the level of police protection they are accustomed to while preserving four jobs Continue offering the level of fire protection residents are accustomed to while preserving six jobs Maintain recreational programs (including basketball, soccer and baseball leagues) while preserving four jobs Maintain the operation of all three city pools and the subsidized taxi service Fund capital improvement projects, including repairing of city roads

If It fails
If the proposed earned income tax fails, the City of Wooster will be forced to:
Reduce its police force by four officers Reduce amount of squad cars running from six to five ONLY be able to respond to crimes in progress, and experience slower response times overall Reduce its fire department by six firefighters Experience slower response times for fire emergencies by 2-4 minutes Reduce its recreation department by four individuals Cut all recreation programs (including basketball, soccer and baseball leagues). Close down Freedlander and Knights Field pools Eliminate the subsidized taxi service Place capital improvement projects, including repairing city roads, on hold


Reduce Services

Earned Income



Wooster fire Division fact Sheet

The Wooster Fire Division applied for, and received, over $365,000 in grants to fund needed equipment and supplies in the past 4 years The Fire Division renegotiated the contract schedule with our EMS billing service, saving more than $32,000 in 2011 The Wooster Fire Division received over $18,000 in EMS Grants over the past 6 years, helping to decrease the cost of supplies and materials, and to assist in the purchase of training equipment The Wooster Fire Division has received numerous commendations from the Wooster Community Hospital and local trauma centers for patient care in the treatment of stroke The citys safety services has completed a feasibility study to assess emergency dispatching services, with the long term goal of improving service to the community and reducing costs to the citys general fund The Wooster firefighters volunteer their time annually to replace over 120 batteries in smoke detectors, or replace the units, for its residents All Wooster Fire Division officers completed training in 2011 to obtain National Standard certification as fire officers to better serve the community The Fire Division has saved $7,000 per year in the reduction of contract services and supplies ordered for the past 2 years Members of the Fire Division have not received a pay increase since 2010, and have offered in the last collective bargaining agreement to take no pay increases through the end of the agreement in 2014. The Wooster Fire Division has reduced its operating costs per capita by 8% over the past 2 years Members of the Wooster Fire Division have raised over $10,000 in donations for several local charities in the last 4 years The cost to supply each fire division member with the required personal protective equipment to fight a fire is $6,850 Members of the Wooster Fire Division are mandated by the state to have a minimum of 61 hours of training annually to keep state certification to perform their jobs In addition to fire and emergency medical calls, members of the Wooster Fire Division are also trained for, and respond to, numerous other incidents which include: hazardous material spill mitigation, confined space rescue and electrical, carbon monoxide and natural gas emergencies

Wooster at a Crossroads
Wooster Police Department: General Information
Response Reduction 2012
Currently, the Wooster Police Department has 21 officers on patrol. According to a manpower study based on Police Department Data from 20042011, there should be 32 officers on patrol. The Wooster Police Department is operating at staffing levels lower than those in 1975. While staffing has decreased, calls for service and population have increased. For example, the citys population has increased by 38%, the citys square mileage has increased by 80% and calls for service have increased by 277%. Furthermore, calls for service are no longer simply documenting information on paper. Calls are documented with copies saved on computers, photographs may be taken, fingerprinting may be attempted, DNA collection may be warranted and evidence may need to be gathered and logged. Advancements in policing have led to increased times in handling what used to be simple calls for service.

Calls for Service Officers on Patrol Population City Square Miles Adult Arrests Active Warrants 6,821 22 18,996 9.66 2,175 128

18,893 23 26,119 17.33 4,565 1,014

277% 4.5% 37.5% 79.4% 110% 692%


General Information (cont.)

In 2011 the Wooster Police Department received over $12,000 from the Department of Justice to purchase new bullet-proof vests for all Department Officers. The Wooster Police Department obtained a grant from the State of Ohio to implement an in-car computer reporting system. This allows Officers to complete minor reports in their cruisers. In 2012 the Wooster Police Department was able to trade in 4 year old duty weapons in exchange for new duty weapons and holsters at no cost. In 2012, in conjunction with Wooster Community Hospital, a full-time Hospital Resource Officer was placed at the hospital. This position is fully funded by Wooster Community Hospital. Working collaboratively with Wooster City Schools, the Wooster Police Department provided Alice training (a method of escape, counter and evacuation in the case of a violent intruder) for all school administration and all staff of Wooster High School. The Wooster Police Department worked with Wooster City Schools to obtain a grant for over $7000 to continue to fund the School Resource Officer Program. In 2012 the Department hosted its first Bicycle Rodeo. During this event, every child received a free bicycle helmet and education in bicycle safety. The Wooster Police Department, in conjunction with the Wayne County Sheriffs Office and Medway, placed a drug drop box in the lobby of the Wayne County Justice Center. This box has collected hundreds of pounds of prescription drugs, keeping them off of the street. In 2012 The Wooster Police Department became one of the first police agencies in the State of Ohio to implement the Lexipol Policy Manual. This extensive project provided a policy manual that is up to date and based on case law. In addition, this manual helped the agency reduce its overall insurance costs while providing updated training to Officers. In 2012 the Wooster Police Department began an in-service training program for all officers. This training ensures that officers are meeting mandated training requirements, while saving money by hosting the training in-house rather than sending officers across the state. Members of the Police Division have not received a pay increase since 2010, and have offered in the last collective bargaining agreement to take no pay increases through the end of the agreement in 2013. In this time span, the Citys general fund will see an estimated savings of approximately $295,000.

Wooster at a Crossroads
Division of Engineering: Project Costs and Status
The Division of Engineering has attempted to meet the citys mission in the most cost effective way possible. Most infrastructure projects are designed, managed and inspected in-house by Engineering Division staff, keeping average fees for professional services near 3% for 2011. The industry average for design and professional engineering costs is 8% to 11% of the estimated construction costs. The value of engineering services provided by the Division of Engineering for major projects alone was over $958,714 in 2011. This is a savings of over $250,000 in design service costs alone. Infrastructure expenditures have been reduced to only those items receiving outside funding. In addition, the city participation amounts have been reduced by eliminating contractual services where possible, and by providing surveying, design and construction administration services with in-house staff. By utilizing nearly $400,000 in grant money, the Division of Engineering has been able to continue paving, roadway and sewer separation projects with minimal direct cost to the city. Melrose Drive Improvements,

Oak Hill Park and Pavement Rehab-Microsurfacing are just a few examples of projects utilizing grant money. For budget years 2012 through 2013, just over $9.3 million infrastructure projects were budgeted, with only 2.1% ($196,350) coming from the citys general fund. The Division of Engineering is currently managing 6 infrastructure projects, with 2 additional projects out for advertisement that will be completed in 2012. The total dollar value of construction projects completed, or under construction, in 2012 is just over $5,750,000. Contract amounts were more than 8% under budget, and final construction costs are running 1.1% lower than the contracts awarded price, which equates to over $500,000 in savings. Since 2010, the Division of Engineering has secured over $3.5 million in grants and zero interest loans for infrastructure projects. Additionally, the Division of Engineering has generated more than $250,000 in revenue in 2011 alone; through permits, permissive tax reimbursements, and ODOT engineering cost reimbursements.


Project Costs and Status (cont.)

SR585/Akron Road Reconstruction Phase 1 :
This project was designed with the intent to reduce congestion and improve safety by installing storm sewers, curb, gutter and sidewalks, bike lane, adding a turn lane, flattening the curve and reconfiguring lane usage at Portage Road, and providing a new surface coarse over the existing roadway between Old Airport Road and Gateway Drive. The project was bid on in April, 2011, with a total of 5 contractors submitting bid proposals. Stout Excavating was awarded the contract at a bid of $1,751,087.88. Work began immediately, and the roadway project was completed in June 2012 with a final completion price of $1,791,694. ODOT funding for this project paid for 80% of construction, and reimbursed 80% of construction engineering costs.

Melrose Drive Improvements:

The Wooster Engineering Division completed the design to improve approximately 4,200 linear feet of Melrose Drive by widening the roadway, improving intersections and upgrading utilities. The contract was awarded to Terra Valley Excavating at a bid price of $1,988,022. Utility relocations and clearing of the area began in November, 2011. Excavating for storm sewer and waterline placement has been completed, and Terra Valley is currently working on roadway construction at the south end of Melrose. The project will be substantially completed by the end of November 2012, with the contractor coming back in the spring to perform some housekeeping and any touchups to the site.


1. Water Fund 2. Sanitary Sewer Fund 3. Storm Sewer Fund 4. Permissive Tax (License Tax) 5. Capital Improvement Fund 6. State Issue 2 (Grant) 7. Property Owner Assessments

9% 2% 21% 24% 3% 20% 21%

Wooster at a Crossroads
Projects Completed/ Started in 2012:
SR585 Phase 1 100% complete, within budget (80% funded through grants) Melrose Drive 90% complete, within budget (25% funded through grants) Burbank Road Water Line 100% complete, within budget (15% funded through grants, 91% of cost to the city funded by a no interest loan) Microsurfacing (Oak Hill/Quinby) 100% complete, within budget (80% funded through grants) Lowry Center Crosswalk 100% complete, within budget (50% funded by the College of Wooster) Wooster Gateway 80% complete, within budget (80% funded through grants)

Project Costs and Status (cont.)

Safe Routes to Schools:
The City of Wooster, in conjunction with the Wooster City Schools, has determined several areas within the city that will benefit from installation of sidewalks; enabling a greater number of students to safely walk to school, which should help reduce traffic congestion at many of the elementary schools. With financing through ODOT, the first area to be improved will be Melrose Drive from Portage Road to Melrose Elementary School. This sidewalk project was recently bid out, and the contract was awarded to Terra Valley Excavating at a bid price of $68,488.50 (40% under budget). Terra Valley will begin this project immediately, to be substantially completed by November 30, 2012. This project is 90% funded by ODOT.

Burbank Road Waterline Phase 1:

This project was designed by the Wooster Engineering Division and consists of replacing existing under-sized and corroded cast iron water mains, upgrading water services and replacing fire hydrants. The project limits are from the intersection of Burbank and Cleveland Road to the south and north to Elm Drive. Funding for this project will be a combination of an Ohio EPA loan and OPWC $500,000 grant. The project was advertised for bidding in August, 2011. G.E. Baker was awarded the contract at a bid price of $706,473.00. The work was completed summer of 2012, with a final contract price of $659,217 (6.7% under contract amount).

Did You Know?

The City of Wooster has endeavored to extend the life of roads and pavement while conserving costs. Below are some standard costs for road construction and maintenance: Roads: New Construction - $500/ft. (standard two lane road with concrete curb and gutter) Mill and Fill - $100,000/lane mile (11' wide lane) Microsurfacing - $25,000/lane mile (11' wide lane)

2012 Microsurfacing Program:

This project is being funded 80% by ODOTs Large City Funding program. It was determined by the Wooster Engineering Division that the city could benefit by instituting the microsurfacing application to lengthen the life of roadways by several years. The process was first used successfully in 2011 on 5 different roads within the city limits. The 2012 microsurfacing program included Oak Hill between Wayne and Oldman and Quinby between Wayne and Bowman.


recreation Community Services fact Sheet

Subsidized Taxi Program offers affordable transportation for over 500 Wooster residents each year Transports
2009 45,301 2010 38,069 2011 47,700 2009 575 2010 529 2011 528


Take in an average of 10,700 registrations each year Registrations

2009 11,347 2010 10,743 2011 10,090

An average of 51,000 users attend City of Wooster pools each year Attendance
2009 51,545 2010 58,557 2011 44,087

Total Participations

2009 298,169 2010 213,294 2011 185,413

Offer over 80 affordable programs, events and classes to seniors, adults and youth every year Programs
2009 94 2010 99 2011 82

In the last three years, the City of Wooster Recreation Department has benefited from over 63,000 hours of community volunteer service Number of hours served by community volunteers
2009 33,914 2010 16,367 2011 13,465

What does the Wooster Recreation Department Offer Wooster?

Quality of Life for Wooster residents Community Assistance, Information Referrals and Advocacy Center Special Events for all ages Work closely with service and outreach groups Social gathering place Caring and efficient customer service Economic Impact on Wooster businesses

Provide a Fitness Room for customers 50 and older from around the area. The Fitness Room includes 5 treadmills, 3 eliptical machines and many other cardio and fitness machines Passes Sold
2009 242 2010 135 2011 175


City of Wooster

Wooster City Hall 538 N. Market St. Wooster, OH 44691