Planning for 2014 In Mingo Junction

Mingo Junction’s village budget is “running on fumes” for the remainder of this year – and the situation may become worse in 2014, municipal officials said last week.

Acting Village Administrator Steve Maguschak told Village Council members a week ago that only “a couple of hundred dollars” remained to pay wages to Mingo Junction employees during the remainder of this year.

Maguschak and Village Clerk John Angelica also predicted financial challenges during 2014. Angelica explained the city is scheduled to make two loan repayments of $67,000 each, for money borrowed to comply with a state Environmental Protection Agency mandate to separate wastewater and storm sewers on Lincoln Avenue.

“Right now, there’s no (money in the 2014 budget) to pay those,” Maguschak warned.

He added that village officials may have no alternative but to ask voters to approve new tax levies.

Mingo Junction’s finances have been in serious trouble for the past couple of years, through no fault of village officials. Perhaps the most serious blow came when the old Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel mill in the village shut down.

To their credit, village officials have worked hard to maintain services with the limited amount of money available.

Matters have become so serious that some responsibilities a municipal government might normally handle are being dealt with by volunteers gathered together under the Mingo Revitalization Committee.

There is no prospect of the flow of revenue to the village picking up during 2014. Village officials already are squeezing every dollar they receive to get the most good out of it.

It may be that seeking voter approval of higher property taxes is the only option left to Village Council. If municipal officials reach that conclusion, they should begin work as soon as possible to get the matter on an election ballot – and to educate Mingo Junction taxpayers regarding the need for more revenue.