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OHIO LEGISLATURE Bill would change funding system



Published: Wed, August 1, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



In this area, only East Liverpool would be affected by the legislation.

By NORMAN LEIGH

VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU

SALEM -- A bill proposed by state Rep. Charles Blasdel of East Liverpool, R-3rd, could deprive some cities, including his hometown, of their ability to veto distribution plans for state tax dollars known as local government funds.

Blasdel introduced House Bill 329 last week, partly as an effort to stem years of feuding in Columbiana County over local government funding.

The state distributes the funds annually to counties throughout Ohio. Counties, in turn, dish out the money among themselves and city, village and township governments using a formula agreed upon by the entities.

The distribution system gives each county's largest city the right to veto any distribution formula with which it disagrees.

Locally: In Columbiana County, the largest city is East Liverpool. Many local governments have long griped about the city's 27 percent share of the funding, saying it should be pared to 18 percent so there would be more funding to go around.

This year, for example, East Liverpool is getting 27 percent of the county's nearly $5.2 million allocation.

But East Liverpool has used its veto power, or threatened to use it, to thwart efforts by the county and many townships and municipalities to reduce its funding share.

Conditions: Blasdel's bill would strip a largest city's veto power under certain conditions, including when the largest city makes up less than 15 percent of a county's total population.

The largest cities in 17 Ohio counties meet that condition, including East Liverpool, Blasdel spokesman Ryan Stenger said Tuesday.

East Liverpool has about 12 percent of the county's population according to 2000 U.S. census figures, Stenger said. East Liverpool Mayor Delores Satow was unavailable to comment.

Neither Youngstown nor Warren would lose veto power if Blasdel's bill becomes law because their populations exceed 15 percent of their respective counties, Stenger added.




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