Correcting Mess In Bridgeport

Bridgeport has been declared in a state of fiscal emergency by the Ohio Auditor’s Office, which notes the village is seriously in arrears in paying back state loans.

That means village government will have to operate under the oversight of a special state commission until it gets its financial house in order.

This should not come as news to Bridgeport residents. Concern over village finances dates back nearly three years. Village officials had tried to get their books in order by hiring an outside accounting company.

Apparently, that did not work. In May, the state auditor’s office declared Bridgeport’s records “unauditable” because of missing records.

Now, it has been revealed the village owes $90,636 for missed payments on loans from the Ohio Water Development Authority and the Ohio Public Works Commission.

Taking care of the mess will require time — and, perhaps, some sacrifice. Bills have to be paid, after all, regardless of what other needs and wants are on the minds of village residents and officials. Some services may have to be reduced or eliminated. Taxes may have to be increased.

How bad is it? Bridgeport’s records “are in such disarray that it’s impossible to fully evaluate the village’s standing,” commented Beth Gianforcaro, of the auditor’s office.

Part of the recovery process needs to be determining just how matters reached this sorry state of affairs, to ensure such a fiasco never occurs again in Bridgeport.

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