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Boardman trustees must show why special election necessary



Published: Thu, April 14, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

After concluding that a vote in May vote was too soon for a 3.85-mill police levy in Boardman that was rejected by residents last November, Boardman Township trustees have decided to take their chances with the public in a special election in August that will cost $40,000 to $50,000.

Trustees Thomas Costello, president of the board, Larry Moliterno and Brad Calhoun can expect to be asked a slew of questions as they campaign for the levy, including this one: Why not wait until the November general election, when it would cost the township nothing to have the issue on the ballot?

Moliterno provided somewhat of an answer Monday, when the board unanimously approved the first reading of a resolution that would be sent to the Mahoning County Board of Elections for certification.

“The whole township is working very hard with limited resources, but the time has come where you can’t wait until November or next year,” he said. “I think we have to act now.”

However, given the national economic climate and the fact that governments at all levels are feeling a budgetary pinch, Boardman residents will need details about the township’s finances and what lies ahead if they are to be swayed to vote for the police levy. Would three months — August to November — cause that much of a hardship for the township?

There’s no doubt that Boardman government, like all governments in the Mahoning Valley, is facing an uncertain future as a result of the economic recession and Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s proposal, contained in his biennium budget, to slash the Local Government Fund.

Even so, having a special election in August for a levy that was defeated in November, albeit by 430 votes, is risky. Success or failure depends on who turns out on a midsummer day.

Finally, there’s the growing negative attitude about public employees exacerbated by Republican Gov. Kasich and the Republican controlled General Assembly making the argument that taxpayers can no longer sustain the cost of government. The Republicans have passed a new law that takes away many rights enjoyed by public employees under Ohio’s collective bargaining statute.

Critics of Senate Bill 5, led by the public sector unions, are gathering signatures to place the issue on the November general election ballot so Ohio voters can have a say.

Across-the-board cuts

Nonetheless, Kasich and the GOP leadership are determined to proceed with cuts across the board, which means local governments will have to tighten their belts.

Trustees Costello, Moliterno and Calhoun must be prepared to clearly demonstrate to the residents what benefits would be derived from the $3.6 million a year the levy would generate.

The police department has a budget of $7 million, of which $4.2 million comes out of the general fund; $1.5 million is generated by a continuing levy that was passed in the 1970s, and $1.3 million is from a safety forces levy approved in 2008.

If the 3.85-mill levy is approved in August, $2 million or so from the police coffers would be returned to the general fund. But trustees insist there would still be more money in the department to hire additional officers.

This is a difficult environment in which to persuade taxpayers to dig deeper into their pockets, but it can be done if the trustees and other township officials make themselves available to the residents and open government’s books for public review.

People’s distrust of government that can only be overcome with transparency.


Comments

1Askmeificare(717 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

@ falconeddy:

Slowly Boardman is going bankrupt and at some point in time a JEDD with Youngstown will be inevitable.

Although I don't like what you had to say in your comment (" ...ask the township employees to take small wage cuts of 10% and contribute at least 20% of their health-care."), I cannot deny that, in fact, you are right.

Those are hard facts I simply hate to hear or see written about because of the impact it has upon very honest, hard working people just trying to survive.

As always, i enjoy your posts.

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2CompMan(125 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Public officials will pay for special elections because if they fail they can appear back on the ballot for free in the next regular election. It is their way of extorting money from the taxpayers to control the interest of a special group. We need Ohio law to stipulate once the voters decide a 1 year waiting period is required for an issue to re-appear. Of course if a majority of citizens would vote that would be eliminate 'squeak it through special elections" planning.

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3republicanRick(1289 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Great editorial Vindy, looks you're finally getting it.

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4outsideobserver(31 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Why does the Boardman Police Dept. cost millions more than surrounding communities? The same goes for the Fire Dept., compare Boardman to Austintown, all most the same number of calls to both but Boardman costs millions more.

It's time for the members of these departments who work for the community to walk in the shoes of people who live in the community (that pay their salaries) and take cuts in salary and benefits before any tax is passed.

To all of these public employees, the party is over, we can't afford you anymore. It's time for you to change not us. Show us your commitment to the community without asking for more money.

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5NoBS(2039 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It's time for the clerk to show where all the money goes. Show where every dollar of income ends up. I dare him.

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

They can wait 3 months but can't wait 6 months. Is that what Sonny told them to say?

Don't be fooled, they want it voted on when the least number of voters are around, vacation time late summer.

Falcon is right, the townships overpaid employees (cops 90K average plus bennefits) need to face the same reality the citizens are facing. Lower pay and higher benefit costs.

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7repeaters(230 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

You can see the Vindy is going to endorse the levy thereby cutting into their revenue if the levy passes and less people buy their newspaper.

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8stewie(109 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I voted for the safety forces levy in 08 didn't think they had the stones to come back so quickly for more! Not this time ! I'll make it a top priority to vote against this levy in Aug. I've had to tighten my belt, I suggest the trustees find ways to do the same.

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9Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

the police department is a joke and it will be hard for them to pass any levy until the detectives start doing there jobs. Don't be a victim in Boardman they will lie to you and tell you that you aren't allowed to press charges. They will say it was only a "neighborly dispute." When your neighbor thtreatens to kill you or if someone steals your kids bike "Maybe it was too close to the curb during trash night. (Even though it was stolen out of the garage). It would be a shame for the taxpayers to waste their own money for an illusion of protection. The police department needs to step up and realize that not doing your job correctly affects the innocent and makes you a bad cop.

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10apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The sad fact is property crimes get solved nationwide at 15-20 percent. But, do you really want guys making 90-100 thousand trying to solve who stole your $50 bike? Isn't it bad enough we send out the 200 thousand dollar fire truck for fender benders? File an insurance claim and buy a new one and keep the door closed.

We need salary reductions to get their wages and benefits in line. 10 percent cuts save 1.4 million and enable the township to hire more cops and provide more service.

Say no to new taxes. Make the trustees earn their 20,000 by negotiating wage concessions. We can't afford to pay cops 90-100 thousand, firemen 75 thousand, and road workers 65 thousand. Plus another 30-35 percent for benefits and perks. Time to reign in the overspending.

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11Mahcntyvoter(30 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It wasn't about the bike. It was about a group of 5 year old kids who watched a grown man go into their garage and take the bike. Got caught red handed by the cops and watched the cops just basically say "Well who cares that he stole the bike." Now we have a group of kids in Boardman who think it is okay to steal.
I don't care what they make if they earn it. But crying for more help and money when no one is doing their job to begin with just makes me sick.
maybe they all should go find a new job and realize in the real world you have to actually do your job to keep it and get paid.

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Use it as a teaching moment telling the kids that highly paid officers doesn't necessarily mean better officers. Isn't that the correlation the township employees keep selling us?

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