Fund transfer still on hold

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge David Henderson on Monday took under advisement a request by Mingo Junction’s current administration to transfer $362,999 out of the community complex fund into the general fund after former members of the village administration voiced opposition to the plan.

Village Solicitor Ernest Wilson told Henderson the money is no longer needed for a community complex because the village doesn’t have the funds to operate such a facility.

The community complex fund receives a small percentage of the 1 percent income tax. The village in 2011 decreased the percentage earmarked for the community complex fund, putting more money into the general fund because of decreasing revenue. Wilson said only about $1,500 is now annually collected for the community complex fund.

A prior village administration took $250,000 out of the community complex fund to build a splash pad at the swimming pool at Aracoma Park.

Wilson said that project has been completed.

Former Mayor Domenic Chappano said Aracoma Park is considered the village’s community complex. He said the swimming pool will need expensive repairs in the years ahead and the village doesn’t have the money in its general fund to make those repairs.

The recreation fund gets 10 percent of the income tax money collected.

Judy Ruckman, a former member of council, said council received an opinion from a former village solicitor that the park was considered a community complex. She noted Mingo Junction needs a good park and schools to attract residents.

Henderson said he wasn’t there to settle political battles or how council should spend the money. He said he wants the breakdown of how the income tax money is distributed, adding he wants the village to stop collecting that percentage of income tax money if the community complex fund is depleted with the transfer.

Wilson said the village will inform the Regional Income Tax Agency not to collect the percentage earmarked for the community complex fund.