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Boardman police levy defeat puts trustees in a fiscal bind

Published: Wed, November 10, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

It’s easy to figure out why 8,043 res- idents of Boardman voted last week in favor of a special levy for the police department: They want more officers on the streets of the township.

But what’s not clear is the thinking of the 8,473 Boardmanites who rejected the 3.85-mill, five-year additional real-estate tax that was on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. Do they not share the concern of their fellow residents about the manpower shortage in the police department? Are they not worried about the growing crime problem in the community, as evidenced by the concerns voiced by residents of the Forest Glen and Newport Glen historic areas.

The failure of the levy, albeit by 400 or so votes, means that the trustees will not be able to meet their goal of adding 10 officers to the force in five years. That would have brought the force level to 57.

Reacting to the failure of the tax, Administrator Jason Loree suggested that Boardman is divided between residents who want more police and those who do not or cannot afford to pay more.

But he also pointed out the dilemma most governments are facing in this tough economic climate: “There’s a lot of people that are looking for us to do more, and we can’t do that right now.”

During the summer, when residents of the northern section of the township voiced concern about the increase in crime, police Chief Jack Nichols issued a list of activities planned by police and the township to address the concerns of all residents. Extra police visibility and teaching residents to protect themselves were among the initiatives.

The passage of the levy would have enabled the trustees to adopt a long-range crime-fighting strategy.

Now, they have to decide how to provide the services that residents expect within the strictures of the operating budget.

During a meeting Monday, trustees Larry Moliterno, Brad Calhoun and Tom Costello left little doubt that keeping the township in the black will require them to make some difficult choices.

For instance, they are thinking of returning a $413,148 federal grant that would pay for two police officers’ starting salaries for three years. The grant is conditioned upon the township paying for the fourth year.

It’s an option that Moliterno, Calhoun and Costello find unpalatable, but they may not have a choice if they are unable to come up with the money to meet the federal government’s grant requirement.

The question of whether the trustees will put the police levy on the May ballot was addressed in a general way. They said that asking residents to take another look at the additional tax is an option, but no decision was made Monday.

However, trustee Calhoun had no qualms about making his position known.

“My personal opinion, and I’m not speaking for the entire board, is that we need it, and we need the additional revenue,” he said.

Why the ‘no’ vote?

But before the trustees make the decision they should determine why half the voters who went to the polls last week said no.

An analysis of the precinct votes will show where there’s support and opposition. Armed with that information, the trustees should organize meetings throughout the township and listen to what the residents have to say about the operation of township government.

Is crime a major concern, or do the people believe government has enough money and just needs to establish priorities?

Based on what they learn, trustees will be able to make an informed decision.


1author50(1121 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Think how much ad revenue from Boardman Township the SPINDIcator lost!

Put that levy on again and it will lose by a larger margin.

What does Calhoun teach at Boardman Schools "Tax and Spend"?

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2repeaters(278 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Well, the Dumbacator now wants to prove that the pen is mightier that the vote. What happened to the talk of regionalization, consolidation, high government payrolls, etc? Now you want to educate the levy supporters on how to pass the levy in the spring? WHAT a RAG you are and totally without shame ...you really have the guts to call yourself a newspaper! I hope the Poland School levy goes on the ballot at the same time and those who live in Boardman and pay Poland school taxes have a fit. Go ahead Boardman, and Austintown too, your traveling in the same footsteps as Liberty Township and you know what happened there....your next. Remember folks, VOTE TILL YOUR BROKE...you owe it to yourselves and your communities.

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31970mach1(1005 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

"Why the ‘no’ vote?" asks the Vindy writer.

There is a real disconnect between the paper's editorial writers and the community. Probably because the people who write these eds. are doing pretty well economically, comparatively speaking, and have no concept of how tough things truly are. To them, a few extra $$ a month is no big deal. To the community at large, it is.

Many people already have huge personal debts. The fed govt and state govt have spent themselves into debt that is going to mean higher taxes for the rest of our lifetimes. So this election, voters decided enough is enough. The voters cannot make ends meet, so they decided it is time for govt to live within their means.

Of course Calhoun does not understand that. He is part of teacher's union that never has to tighten belt. It is always just another school levy and more raises, just like Children Services did last week.

Hard times are here for all of us, and they are not going away any time soon.

Vindy endorsed every tax levy, as always.

I honestly cannot remember over the last 30 YEARS the Vindy NOT endorsing any type of tax. Seriously, I cannot.

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4Millie(192 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

One of the trustees would have to be willing to get to work on the budget. Guaranteed they cannot answer basic questions about the cost of government in Boardman. How do they know the taxpayer money is being spent wisely? It really is no different than Gains asking for 60% more in his budget or the social agency ready to give raises out the minute the election results are in. There should be referendum recall of every renewal or new levy passed that resulted in a pay increase or improved benefit package for any government or public employee.

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5target145(18 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

The reason the votes were almost 50/50 is because 50% of the boardman voters don't know about boardman police misconduct. The voters who voted against the levy remember the blue wolf when boardman POLICE was having sex with minors in the parking lot..Yes sex with minors...if me or you did that they would lock us up for a long time..but the police officers got off free...wow The people of boardman did not forget this and they showed the dept..their tired of the misuse of police power and misconduct. Just seen an officer .a real Jack off. reading books at the shell station on tippy and 224..for 65,000 a year. Seen that same officer picking up a hore behind mickeys bar on market. In a patrol car...shined his light on the car and took off fast..and the girl followed..
Some officers need the fbi on them.
Thats why the votes came in that way...some of us know whats going on in boardman.

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6Traveler(606 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

I think the reason the levy failed is voters looked at the amount they paying in taxes and the level they get back in service and though they weren't getting there moneys worth then decide they will not give more money to the government to it proves it can use the money it gets properly

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