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Zell asks city to help entrepreneurial center

A nonprofit corporation set up to help budding entrepreneurs needs a helping hand itself or it will shut down within weeks.



Will Zell, who started an entrepreneurial center in 2011, said he has been the primary supporter of the venture and can no longer go it alone.

He is hoping local government entities will join in a private/public partnership and fund the endeavor.

“I have gone to great lengths to clearly demonstrate this endeavor is not for the intent of personal gain,” he told the Bellefontaine City Council on Tuesday. “My sole desire for this project is to help Bellefontaine and Marysville stand apart from other communities in what we offer to small businesses and to help entrepreneurs succeed.

“The most successful model (for entrepreneurial centers) is where there is partnerships between public and private entities.”

He said he would need about $36,000 a year to help subsidize rents for budding businesses. The subsidies would help draw in renters and help make the centers sustainable.

He currently receives about $240 from Marysville and Union County entities to support the Marysville location, but that is not enough.

If no help is forthcoming, he will shut down the center by early August.

Finance Chairman Mark Fissel noted he had talked with Mr. Zell just a few months ago and the issue did not come up at that time.

Mr. Fissel asked what had changed.

Noting that his 124 S. Main St. operation never fully recovered from the June 29, 2012, windstorm, Mr. Zell responded that another for-profit venture fell through.

He was hoping the property lease deal would offset his personal losses from the entrepreneurial centers.

Council members did not say if they will consider his request.

Mr. Zell noted the Logan County Commissioners rejected his proposal two and half months ago.

In other council news, members approved a measure to buy three pickup trucks and a panel van for the Sewer Department. The cost will be well under the $90,000 limit in the ordinance, Service-Safety Director James Holycross said.

City Auditor Jack Reser told the Finance Committee that income tax revenues were up 21 percent compared to the same time last year.

Thus far, the city has collected 61 percent of the projected income tax revenues of $5.4 million for the year. Normally at this time of year, he said, the city has received 55 to 56 percent of projections.

The next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. July 23.

Feral, stray cat hotline up and running

Bellefontaine now has a hotline for people to call in and report sightings of feral and stray cats.

The calls will help establish a database that could be used to land funding for a cat population control program.

Area residents can call 651-3259 24 hours a day. An automated answering machine will ask them to leave necessary information for the program.

Lori Plummer of the Humane Society Serving Logan County has told the Bellefontaine City Council there may be as many as 13,000 stray and feral cats in the county.

The council hopes a program to capture and then spay or neuter stray cats before rerelease will help trim the cat population.

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