- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

NEVILLE, Ohio (AP) - A tiny western village along the Ohio River with a population of 100 residents could vote to dissolve itself this month after struggling with finances.

The citizens of Neville will decide during the March 15 primary whether the 208-year-old Clermont County village should survive on an already stretched budget or vote itself out of existence, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported (https://cin.ci/1QKFXTl ).

Eight villages have voted to disband since 2005. In addition to Neville, residents in two other villages will cast ballots on dissolving in the primary election.

A 1997 flood forced out more than half of Neville’s population. And cuts made by Republican Gov. John Kasich and state lawmakers to the local government fund have hamstrung the village’s finances.

While the cuts helped balance the state’s budget, they left some municipalities strapped for cash.

Neville has relied entirely on money from the local government fund as the sole revenue stream for its $15,000 operating budget. The village gets a regular disbursement from the state, which collects taxes and distributes money from the fund through a revenue-sharing model.

Mayor Cecil Collins Jr. said Neville will be lucky to make it through the rest of the year if the dissolution vote isn’t passed.

“They say they’ve got this surplus. Start giving some of it back to us,” Cooper said, referring to Ohio’s renewed financial condition. “That would be the answer. It would help every village and every governmental entity in the state of Ohio. But they haven’t done that.”

Collins said the state auditor’s office gave Neville a choice: Vote to dissolve, or eventually face a court-ordered dissolution.

A vote to dissolve would place the village’s financial responsibilities upon the surrounding township.

Village leaders have the authority to introduce a vote to raise taxes, but that is unlikely. The median income in Neville is around $31,000.

“We could try to pass levies for tax increases, but how would that work?” Collins said. “People aren’t well-to-do out here. We’re just getting by.”


Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, https://www.enquirer.com

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