Mahoning County voters say no to new
By Ashley Luthern
Voters dealt similar blows to Poland and Canfield schools during Tuesday’s election.
Renewal levies in each of the districts were approved by voters, but additional levies failed.
Fifty-eight percent of voters approved a 3.6-mill, five-year renewal levy for Poland schools, but an additional 4.9-mill, five-year emergency levy garn-ered only 43 percent of the vote. In November, voters also turned down a 3.9-mill additional levy.
“The state forces you to beg. Everyone’s in the same situation. It doesn’t matter where you are,” said Eric Ungaro, vice chairman of the Citizens Committee for Poland Schools.
Last month, the Poland Board of Education voted 4-1 to place Tuesday’s renewal and emergency levies on a special ballot Aug. 2. The 4.9-mill additional levy will appear on the August ballot, and if approved, it would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $150 annually.
When asked about the August special election, committee chairman Paul McFadden said, “I’ve been totally focused on this. I haven’t thought of it.”
In Canfield, 60 percent of voters approved a 1.6-mill, emergency five-year renewal levy, but only 41 percent voted for a 6.8-mill additional operating levy.
The Canfield Board of Education only moved to place the renewal levy on the Aug. 2 special election ballot in case it failed Tuesday. Board members did not vote to get the additional levy back in front of voters in August, and today is the filing deadline to place a measure on that ballot.
In March, the Canfield school board announced phase two of cuts totaling $1.3 million should the May levy fail.
Among the cuts were reductions of 12 teachers and 15 classified staff, state minimum busing with a half-mile between bus stops for kindergartners through eighth-graders and pay-to-participate for extracurricular activities.
Voters in Poland did approve one additional tax Tuesday — by 16 votes.
Results showed 2,175 votes for the 1-mill, additional fire levy for the Western Reserve Joint Fire District and 2,159 votes against the levy.
The Western Reserve Joint Fire District serves Poland Township and village.
The levy will cost $30.62 a year for an owner of a home valued at $100,000 and is expected to generate $350,000 annually.
Mahoning County Board of Elections officials said the fire levy results are close enough for an automatic recall after provisional ballots are counted.
Still, Fire Chief David C. Comstock Jr. said he was pleased with the result.
“The fire district is very appreciative that a majority of the voters was willing to support the fire district in these difficult economic times,” Comstock said.
He said the district will use the funds for capital projects, such as a new fire engine which usually costs about $400,000.
“We’ll pledge to use the money wisely. Our last levy was 12 years ago, and I hope we don’t have to go back [to voters] for at least that amount of time,” Comstock said.
Also in Poland Township, voters approved a 2-mill renewal levy for the township. The renewal will cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $25 a year.
That levy was originally approved in 1978 and currently is valued at 0.59144 mill, generating $193,296 annually, township officials had said.