By Hasan Abdul-Karim, Springfield News-Sun
Officials with the city of Urbana say they will have a better sense of where the city stands financially amid the coronavirus pandemic as tax filings in the coming months will paint a more accurate picture.
“Income tax revenue, specifically withholding taxes, has remained consistent through April,” said Chris Boettcher, the director of finance for Urbana.
“Obviously, the extension of the 2019 tax returns filing date from April 15 to July 15 has delayed collections, so we will have a better picture in late July once individuals and businesses have filed their tax returns.”
It will also allow the city to adjust general revenue projections for the year as the coronavirus pandemic continues. However, there has not been a reported dip in those revenues as of May.
So far, projected revenue for the city’s general fund is $7,039,000 based on pre-pandemic trends.
Budgeted appropriations amount to $7,001,890, Boettcher said.
A large portion of general fund revenue comes from local income tax. The projection for this year so far is $6,489,000 and $3,455,300 is to be directed to the general fund, Boettcher said.
A stay-at-home order was implemented by the governor’s office in March with the hopes of curbing the spread of the coronavirus in Ohio. It called for the closing of nonessential businesses, while others that remained open were asked to tweak their operations following state guidelines.
That included implementing social distancing policies at businesses. Restaurants transitioned to offering strictly carryout, delivery or curbside services. Companies that offer both nonessential and essential services were asked to focus on the latter.
Ohio began gradually reopening portions of its economy in the beginning of May and businesses that had to temporarily shutter their doors have now reopened. Those businesses are required to follow state guidelines related to the pandemic, such as social distancing, increase sanitary practices and in some cases increase personal protection equipment for employees.
Marcia Bailey, with the Champaign Economic Partnership, said that the economic impact affected industries differently in the county.
She noted that while manufacturing as a whole was impacted, a large portion of those businesses were deemed essential and were able to stay open.
But all had to adjust their operations amid the pandemic.
Some saw an increase in the demand for their services, while others had to reduce production. Other businesses, such as family owned and operated restaurants and retail stores either temporarily closed or reduced their operations.
Even though some of those businesses have since reopened, they are still making adjustments, said Bailey.
In terms of restaurants, some have continued to rely on carry out services or have had to reduce the number of people able to dine-in due to social distancing guidelines.
A grant fund has also been established in Champaign County to aid small businesses, with 50 employees or less, impacted by the ongoing pandemic. So far, there has been a total of 24 recipients with a total award of over $54,000, Bailey added.
In addition, Urbana University announced in April that it would close and cease enrollment at the end of the 2020 spring semester. The closure will directly affect 350 students and 111 full-time employees, school officials said at the time.
However, Urbana has not seen a dip in revenues from January to May. Boettcher said general fund revenues reported for this year is approximately $2.7 million and is similar to what was reported during the same period last year.
Urbana Mayor Bill Bean said that at this point they are continuing to monitor the budget and operations have stayed relatively the same.
Contact this reporter at 937- 328-0355 or email Hasan.Abdul-Karim@coxinc.com.
Urbana University's Blue Knight Faculty Lecture Series continues on Tuesday, Feb. 18th from 11am-12pm with a presentation from C. Shaun Owens, the Lead Faculty in Business Administration. Owens' presentation topic on Feb. 18th will be "Communication: A Key Ingredient to Competitive Advantage."
The free lecture series is designed to be a bring your own "brown bag lunch" event open to the public. There will be an opportunity to interact with the presenters, with the goal of advancing community goals. The lectures take place in The Swedenborg Memorial Library on the campus of Urbana University.
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. THERE ARE PLANS TO RESCHEDULE IN THE FALL.
You're invited to the Career Preparation Workshop Series that UU is hosting leading up to the March 24 Career Fair.
These workshops are open to all community members including high school students! For more information, please contact email@example.com.
This event has been cancelled. There are plans to reschedule in the Fall.
You're invited to a Career Fair at Urbana University on Tuesday, March 24th from 9am - 1pm. The Career Fair is specifically designed to help students, alumni and community members find full-time employment and work-based learning experiences such as internships, co-op programs, summer jobs and volunteer opportunities.
Employers: REGISTER HERE TODAY. Registration deadline is March 8th.
By Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen
The three-story, 54-room Cobblestone Hotel under construction at 170 state Route 55, Urbana, is on budget and on schedule to be completed by mid-May 2020, according to Urbana Hotel LLC managing member Terry Howell. The framing crew lost 12 days of work due to weather, allowed under the construction schedule. Roofers were expected to begin placing tile on Monday.
“The schedule had allowances for weather, and they’ve used up all those allowances to date,” Howell said Friday, Dec. 27. “I would personally like to have seen it a week ahead of schedule, but we’ve had rain come at inopportune times. On Monday the shingle people will come in and they’ll start putting the sofﬁt on and the shingles on.”
Howell said that the framing crew was contracted from Florida by BriMark Builders, that the crew is the number one framing crew for BriMark and that this is the 15th hotel they have built.
“Any construction project usually has a little impediment here or a miscommunication there. That’s kind of normal, but there’s not been very much of that,” he said. “There’s always some of that on any project, but there hadn’t been very much of that on this one. It’s going very smoothly.”
Plumbers and HVAC contractors are at work inside the structure. The concrete pool is built and just needs a liner. Howell said there are as many as 10-15 people working on site during any given day depending on what they are trying to accomplish that day.
“There’s a schedule where you have different trades that have to come together to ﬁt,” Howell said. “The rooms are all laid out and numbered already on the inside. They’re laid out in a rough frame, and there’s an electrical map on each room so electricians know where to run wires and so on. It has been sequenced appropriately and is right on schedule and on budget. Everything is going fairly smooth.”
Howell added that the people working on the entrance will install awning, and then signage will go on the cupola. The “mountain of mud” currently surrounding the building will be transformed into a parking lot big enough to park buses beside the building within the coming months.
“I would have no problem staying here,” he said. “I live just three miles from here so I doubt if I ever will spend the night here, but all the rooms have character. We’ve got like six different styles of rooms … and they have varying amenities that they offer, so they’re not all the same. We are really excited.”
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304
All participants of this program qualify to receive cash prizes and an academic scholarship to Franklin or Urbana University.
Register at cbusstudenthack.org.
For information on sponsoring a team, visit https://cbusstudenthack.org/sponsors/
October is National Manufacturing Month
“We are fortunate to have such diversity of manufacturing in Champaign County,” said Marcia Bailey, CEP Director. “We want our young people to understand the career choices that exist in manufacturing and having this opportunity helps them gain first-hand knowledge. We have approximately 3,700 people working in manufacturing in our community and many companies are looking for skilled employees.”
Last year, the CEP, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Urbana University, and manufacturers from around the area created the inaugural Champaign County Design Challenge. After a successful first year, the design challenge is returning. For the second year in a row, approximately 90 students from Graham, Mechanicsburg, Triad, Urbana, and West Liberty-Salem are participating.
The student teams were challenged to design a mousetrap race car within a series of criteria and constraints under the guidance of an industry mentor. Each school participating can have up to four teams with five students and is open to middle or high school students. For the challenge, the mousetrap car must include five simple machines and four wheels with the goal of the car going 20 feet. The teams cannot purchase or 3D print materials.
The mentors for the teams are Steven Brandeberry from JWP, Zack Zizzo and Stephen Oser from Orbis, Mike Wagner from Navistar, Colin Turcu, Hayden Gephart, and Ethan Hess from KTH, Jeff Helman from Rosewood Machine and Tool, Jacob Schmitt from Ultra-Met, Dan Yohey from Rittal, Tyler Bumbalough from the Urbana City Engineering division, and Steve McCall from Champaign County Engineer.
“The goal of the design challenge is to expose students to local manufacturers, interact with professionals, and use their creativity to complete a project,” said Allison Koch, Ohio Hi-Point Satellite Supervisor. “The groups are being judged on their collaboration and their ability to explain their successes and challenges.”
The teams compete at their school district and the winning team from each school district advance to the countylevel competition held at Urbana University on November 1. All participants are invited to listen to the finalists present each team’s design to the judges.
During the event, students are also able to participate in a tradeshow with local manufacturers.
“Design thinking happens at the intersection of art and science. Designers direct our lifestyle, create our products, and shape the environments where we live, work, and play,” said Dr. Christopher Washington, Executive Vice President and CEO of Urbana University. “Urbana University is proud to host the Champaign County Design Challenge event for young designers in our region.”
The Champaign County Design Challenge trophy is currently housed at last year’s winning school, Triad High School.
For more information about manufacturing programs for students, please visit www.ohiohipoint.com or www.urbana.edu.
A unique celebration right here in Champaign County! Join Urbana University and The Johnny Appleseed Museum for a birthday celebration on Thursday, September 26th from 4-6pm in Browne Hall.