Ottawa County school administrators are praising Ottawa County Auditor Jennifer Widmer for being a great partner, saving local schools and governments thousands of dollars in funding at a time when it is needed most.
In the midst of the pandemic, Treasurer Cajon Keeton of the Benton-Carroll-Salem Schools has pointed out that Widmer has found ways to reduce the fees the county charges to local taxing entities. Widmer’s office declined to collect $437,000 in real estate assessment fees in August, with the majority of the fees distributed to county schools.
“With the number of challenges faced by schools this year, this is more than appreciated,” said Keeton, pointing out that state government had been making cuts to Ohio school funding during the pandemic, resulting in millions of dollars lost by Ottawa County schools.
“This, coupled with the increase for safety supplies, put schools in a rough financial position,” said Keeton.
The B-C-S school district was cut $384,000 for fiscal year 2020 and fiscal year 2021 due to the pandemic and the negative financial position of the state.
“In addition to this kind act, Widmer is very easy to communicate with, and has even come to a few early morning board meetings for the schools in our area,” said Keeton.
Other Ottawa County treasurers also praised Widmer. Shane Baumgardner of Danbury Local Schools said: “The waiving of collection fees by Ottawa
County Auditor Jennifer Widmer will allow school more resources to be applied to student wellness and success, yet another example of the support of her office and the county to school districts.”
“It is with appreciation and gratitude to recognize and thank Auditor Widmer for taking a conscientious approach of reducing our administrative fees during these unusual circumstances,” said Joy Cooper of the Put-in-Bay Board of Education.
Treasurer Bill Nye of the Genoa Area Local Schools voiced their appreciation to Widmer and the Ottawa County Auditor’s Office for the recent reduction in REA fees charged to Ottawa county public school districts. The savings helped provide the Genoa District additional budget stability that is much needed during this time of unprecedented financial uncertainty.
Port Clinton City Schools Treasurer Jeff Dornbusch said the cooperation with all levels in Ottawa County government is tremendous. “We are thankful and appreciative that Widmer was able to lower fees charged to our school district, which helped offset some of the reductions in funding we received from the state this year.”