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Pandemic still causing financial difficulties, but Mayfield’s finances are in fine shape - cleveland.com

MAYFIELD, Ohio -- The pandemic had a huge financial impact on many communities in 2020 and continues to make its presence felt in 2021.

Although he said the village’s financial position remains very strong, Finance Director Ronald Wynne took a few minutes during Monday’s (Aug. 16) Village Council meeting to discuss areas in which the pandemic continues to have an effect on finances.

A year ago, Lyndhurst Municipal Court Judge Dominic Coletta explained how the pandemic had impacted traffic fines levied by the court. Fewer people were driving, meaning fewer tickets for traffic infractions were issued.

In 2020, communities that the court serves -- including Mayfield, Mayfield Heights, Richmond Heights, Highland Heights, Gates Mills and Lyndhurst -- were asked to chip in to support the court. In normal years, the court is able to support itself.

Last August, Mayfield paid $31,835 as its half-year share to to help support the court, which faced a deficit of $200,000 for the first six months of the year.

During Monday’s meeting, council voted to pay the court another $12,875 as Mayfield’s share for the first half of 2021.

“Court fines at the end of last year went down about $100,000,” Wynne told council of the final total. “At the end of July, it’s pretty much tracking the same way for 2021. So, that’s looking to be down around $100,000 this year, also.”

Wynne said the $100,000 decrease is compared to 2019, and not an additional $100,000 added to 2020′s total deficit.

In addition to the court, Wynne said other areas impacted are hotel taxes and village investments.

“Hotel taxes in 2020 were also down $100,000,” he said. “As of the end of July, that’s tracking the same (in 2021), but we did see a big increase in July (2021), so we’re hoping that’s a reflection of summer travel and that maybe they’ll pick up a little business. We’ll keep an eye on that, but right now, that’s tracking down about $100,000.”

Wynne said the village’s investment earnings in 2020 were down $425,000 and that those earnings will decrease by an additional $275,000 in 2021.

“There’s not a whole lot we can do about that; it’s a function of the federal interest rate,” he said. “It’s not going anywhere. We’re very limited as to how we can invest our liquidity. So, we’re looking, in total, on an annual basis a decrease of about $700,000 in investor earnings.”

Wynne said the village’s income tax earnings -- where the biggest part of its revenue income is derived -- have been strong through the end of July. He said that collections, vs. 2020, are down $38,000, but that’s because of a $95,000 net profit tax refund that was issued to a village corporation that dates to a 2018 tax return.

“If you take that ($95,000) out of the equation, we’re actually ahead of where we were last year,” Wynne said.

Looking ahead through September, Wynne projects income tax revenues will be on par or ahead of last year.

Mayfield’s largest taxpayer, Progressive, had expected, up until a month ago, to bring its employees back to in-person working at its offices during the first week of August. The recent increase in COVID-19 cases, however, has led Progressive to push back in-person work until 2022.

“As far as employee withholdings go, they (Progressive) are not going to continue to withhold based on where individuals worked prior to the pandemic (Progressive offices in Highland Heights, Mayfield Heights or Mayfield Village), but will give their employees the option of selecting whether they want to have taxes taken out of their checks based on where they’re currently working (their community of residence), or where they were prior to the pandemic, which could have been Mayfield Village, Highland Heights or Mayfield Heights.

“So we will see impact from that this year. What that impact might be, I have absolutely no idea. It’s something we’ll stay on top of and track.”

The good news is that, despite the difficulties the pandemic has created, the village is not hurting for money. Wynne said he does not foresee Mayfield’s large $40 million cash reserve decreasing this year.

In other council meeting news

-- Mayfield Village Fire Chief Eugene Carcioppolo said that a commemoration ceremony of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States will take place at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at the First Responders Memorial, next to the fire station at 770 S.O.M. Center Road.

-- Recreation Director Shane McAvinew said the village is in need of volunteers for its annual Cruise Night, to be held this year from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. Volunteers are need for such things as selling T-shirts and dash plates to owners of vintage cars.

Because of the pandemic, this year’s Cruise Night is being held three months later in the year than usual. Those who would like to volunteer can call McAvinew at 440-481-5163 or 440-471-1041.

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