September 23, 2014

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Village of Kipton in jeopardy amid financial crisis

KIPTON — The village must slash $10,000 from its planned 2015 budget in order to deal with what Kipton Mayor Bob Meilander said were unpaid bills, unbalanced books and a series of fines from state agencies that have decimated the village’s savings.

If the fiscal bleeding isn’t stopped or Kipton voters fail to renew its operating levy, which brings in about $14,000 annually, Meilander said during a town meeting Wednesday that it’s possible the village could cease to exist and be reabsorbed into Camden Township.

Meilander said that he and Village Council have already come up with a plan to cut the budget, which was about $80,000 this year, to around $70,000 next year. Before state cuts to local government funding began in recent years under Gov. John Kasich, Meilander said, the village’s annual budget had been about $95,000.

He said the village has already taken steps to address the budget crunch, including disconnecting power to a gazebo and pavilion in town, a move Meilander estimated will save $840 per year. The village plans to stop employing an attorney, freeze planned raises for Council and cut in half the number of street lights that illuminate the village of roughly 240 people.

On top of the cuts, Meilander said Kipton also owes about $3,000 in fines to agencies because of unpaid bills or unreported information.

He said he and Council have been trying to clean up the books since the departure of the township’s previous fiscal officer, Rick Krueck, last year.

Meilander said after Krueck left, he discovered unopened mail, unpaid bills and the village’s financial books in disarray. He also said that the Rural Lorain County Water Authority, of which he is a board member, had sent the village a notice that its water service was going to be cut off for nonpayment.

Meilander said after the meeting that once Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s office completes an audit of the village’s finances that there will likely be a finding for recovery against Krueck.

But Krueck defended his brief tenure as fiscal officer, saying he had tried to fix the village’s fiscal woes. He also said the village was in financial trouble because of a $30,000 loan that was taken out in 2008, something he voted against as a member of Council.

Krueck called the problems with the village’s finances a “shared responsibility.”

“They just had a series of people in office who didn’t know what to do,” Sheffield Township Fiscal Officer Patty Echko said after the meeting.

Echko said she and Camden Township Fiscal Officer Cheryl Parrish have been donating time to fix Kipton’s books since last fall, but there still exists the possibility that the village could see additional hits from unexpected sources.

Jennifer Strickland, a longtime village resident, said she is still worried that the full extent of the village’s finances hasn’t been fully disclosed.

“It looks like there may have been mismanagement of (village) funds,” she said after the meeting, adding that who’s at fault changes based on who one talks to.

Meilander encouraged residents to pull together, not just to vote for the upcoming levy but also to improve the village itself. He suggested forming committees to try to draw events and people into the village.

“We need to do more than just survive,” he said.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BradDickenCT.


  • Jason M. Schmidt

    Dire times indeed. Although, I think a series of successful bake sales could solve their woes.

    • Mark B

      Maybe a hash tag would solve the problem

  • Mark B

    I guess the Kipton cops cant write the tickets fast enough

    • Kipton Police Dept

      Mark B, KPD issued 14 tickets in 2013. 12 were for speeding the other
      two for no seat belt & an equipment violation. The average speed
      violation was 58 mph in a 35 mph residential zone.

      • Exposing Trolls

        The existence of the Kipton Police Dept is a joke, just like your user. Since your username in synonymous with being a troll, you made this one?

    • Bill

      Just another uninformed inflammatory comment by Mark B. Nothing but a troll.

      • Simon Jester

        Except for when he’s right. I don’t believe the “14″ ticket statistic for a second.

        • Bill

          Disbelieve all you want. It’s a matter of public record. Before you start posting all the inaccuracies that Mark does on a regular basis, do some research.

  • Summer Smart

    Best of luck Mayor Meilander. Prayers that the Levy passes and Kipton can stand on its own!

  • LorainCountyVoter

    Like he said. Kasich cut taxes to make everyone think he is such a wonderful Gov., but all he did was put the burden on local government, so we are still paying. He didn’t cut nothing, he just shifted it. I hope everyone remembers that at the polls this year.

    • Edward Nonamaker

      What ? You are blaming the Governor because Kipton cannot pay their bills or open the mail ? In 2008 Kasich was not Governor when a 30,000 dollar loan was approved , maybe local Government should stop the fiscally non-responsible spending. If a citizen cannot pay the water bill they have the utility shut off , whats good for one is good for the other .

      • Sis Delish

        If the Water is turned off, will the Kiptonites march on Village Hall as the folks in Detroit did?

    • Pablo Jones

      Are you just repeating what you were told or do you actually know what was changed? If you know please explain what was changed and what money is affected.

    • Mark B

      If they cant sustain themselves , they should just dissolve. but like everyone else they cant survive without a Giverment handout.

    • Bill Love

      mabe if the state wasnt indebt when he took over he wont had to cut funding as much. learn to get your facts straight and its sad the state has to bail out a poor ran township

    • Simon Jester

      Yes, I’m sure Kasich cut bloated government spending to garner popularity..

      You fool.

  • GreatRedeemer

    This village has a budget that is less than many households. There is less than 250 people, they already contract with Camdem, the time has come to consolidate.

  • Ex_Subscriber

    First Linndale, now Kipton. Not breaking my heart. It can disappear for all I care, it only exists to support the speed trap in my opinion. Oh, and to pull you over after 9 PM regardless of your speed if you’re from out of town, which is basically EVERYBODY. I’ve refused to go anywhere near Kipton ever since their Barney Fife gendarme did it to me 20 years ago and scared the hell out of my 8 year old daughter who was in the truck with me at the time.

    • Kipton Police Dept

      That my have been the case previously, but since everyone on the PD was replaced about seven years ago things have changed. Things are much more professional, and far more warnings than tickets are issued. In fact, KPD issued 14 tickets in 2013. 12 were for speeding the other
      two for no seat belt & an equipment violation. The average speed
      violation was 58 mph in a 35 mph residential zone. I wouldn’t call that a speed trap.

      • Exposing Trolls

        List the number of people pulled over statistician boy.

    • Exposing Trolls

      Amen. The smart thing needs to be done, not the old I am defiant and I will keep my city around attitude.

  • luvmytoaster

    I’m amazed they have survived this long with so few residents.

  • http://politicsarepersonalblog.blogspot.com/ Suzan Smith

    Kipton is such a nice little village. Nice people. So sorry to hear about financial issues. Big government would like to keep the money of small towns and townships and centralize the control.

  • Dave G

    Shouldn’t every Member of council be to blame if the bills weren’t being payed every month before the bills are payed every Member of Council plus the Mayor have a chance to look at what is being payed and a Motion is made to pay the bills it looks to that More than one Person wasn’t doingt hee Job not just Rick

    • John Davidson

      You are exactly right. They see what is being paid. They don’t see what is not being paid.

  • Sis Delish

    $10k is nothing for some of the huge Farmers out that way… so, they have to give up purchasing a fifth snowmobile this season, they can take a write-off on their annual losses. Or, they can donate the same for a Kipton Raffle, problem solved.

  • Exposing Trolls

    See first comment… knows when the story is being released… more to come.