Canfield city manager urges rejection of charter changes

Canfield city manager urges rejection of charter changes

A wise man once said, “Change is inevitable ... except from a vending machine.” However, with reference to the two proposed charter amendments on the Nov. 5 ballot, I have to ask, “Is this change really necessary?”

Canfield has for the most part, through the years, maintained a strong commitment to its rich historic background. The Canfield community boasts of our superior school system, Public Works Department, and safety services. Even throughout the most recent financial crisis, the loss of the local government funding and the estate tax, Canfield maintained strong fiscal management and continued services without interruption.

Last year, the voters elected to support term limits for Canfield City Council and the mayor and added (whether they knew it or not) the stipulation that anyone running in the November 2013 election for one of those offices could not have any political experience within the last six years.

The result has left the city with one candidate for each vacant office. An election with no opposition hardly gives voters much choice, and candidates with no experience hardly promise increased productivity.

This November two additional charter amendments are on the ballot. Both will have similar deleterious effects.

The first would impose term limits on committee and board members, while the second would enable the public to participate in any discussion, during all aspects of any committee or board meeting regardless of the point of discussion, rendering information gathering and sharing difficult at best. Just as council and the mayor are elected by the residents of Canfield to represent the citizens, the members of boards and commissions are selected by the elected officials to represent the community at large. The biggest deterrent of term limits is the loss of institutional knowledge those board and committee members bring.

Other negative aspects of term limits are reducing the number of qualified professionals to serve on committees and boards. Term limitation is already built into the democratic process. If an elected candidate fails to perform satisfactorily, the process allows the voters to dismiss him or her by voting them out. Term limitations not only assure ridding the community of subpar elected officials but the best and the brightest as well.

Joseph V. Warino, Canfield

The writer is city manager of Canfield.

It is hard to justify another school levy for South Range

Will it never end? The signs for the “new” South Range School levy are being hoisted up. The ink on the ballot from the last election is not even dry from the “Not a new TAX just a renewal levy,” and the South Range School board is at it again.

After pleading for the emergency operating renewal levy, the school board has the gall, for want of a better word, to now ask for more dollars from the residents of the school district. In case some residents are not aware where the dollars go, here are some cold hard facts.

Eighty-five percent of what the levy brings in goes to pay the teachers and other salaries, 15 percent goes toward the other costs to operate the school. I happened to check the information at Buckeye, which lists each Ohio school district and what each employee salaries are for the school year.

Listed there are the last seven-year salaries and their retirement. Here is what I found from just two South Range teachers. From 2004 to 2012 one teacher went from $53,209 in 2004 to $69,950 and another from $53,015 to $65,994. Those salaries are without other incentives such as coaching and adviser roles included.

Please don’t try to tell the taxpayers that it is a long school year, when it is in fact only 184 days. How can you ask a worker who is trying to raise a family making $27,000 to $30,000 per year to give a raise to someone making $65,000-plus for 184 days.

I have driven by the new South Range school parking lot and the student parking area is overflowing with the students who drive to school. Yet the school buses paid for with taxpayer dollars are only half full. The taxpayers need a break. The Golden Goose has been killed many times over.

Dale Rhinehart, Canfield

Support United Local school levy

Having been a resident of Hanover Township, Columbiana County, for many years, my husband, Tony, and I have always supported and worked for any project or improvement that would benefit the community and its residents. Tony is gone now, but I will continue to work for and support projects that would affect the residents of our community.

One such project is the United Local school levy that will be on Tuesday’s ballot. United is an excellent school and busy preparing our youth for their place in the world. This levy will be used entirely for the upkeep of the building itself, not for teachers’ salaries. Items needing attention include updated wiring, heating system (now 40 years old), roof replacement, buses, classroom renovations, energy-efficent windows and online textbooks.

The school gets no money from drilling; it all goes to the state, and not much has been realized from the Ohio Lottery.

If this levy is passed the old current levy will be dropped. I approve of this necessary and needed levy.

Margaret A. Leone, Guilford Lake