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Canfield residents should vote for two charter amendments



Published: Sun, November 3, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Canfield residents should vote for two charter amendments

In Canfield, two charter amendments are on the ballot Tuesday.

The first deals with term limits for boards and commissions. There are five different boards/commissions. Persons are “appointed” to the boards/commissions and are paid for their meeting time. Their current terms vary from three to six years, with no term limits. This charter amendment standardizes the terms for all boards/commissions to three years with a maximum of two consecutive terms. Of the 22 persons currently serving on all the boards/commissions, eight have been there for over 10 years and three have been there over 20 years. Thirteen have had two or more terms. These positions are not meant to be careers. Persons may serve out their current term. Persons may apply for reappointment after waiting out one term. Each board or commission may select one person, with exceptional professional qualifications, to be exempt from term limits.

An argument has been presented that it is difficult to find people to serve. However, “appointments” have been closely held and very little effort has been spent to inform the residents that a position is open. Long-term tenure in office results in complacency, a sense of entitlement, and leads to little fiefdoms. Last year the Canfield voters approved term limits for mayor and city council. It is time for term limits on the boards and commissions and not continue to reappoint the same members.

The second charter amendment deals with residents’ participation in meetings of these boards and commissions. Residents’ participation at meetings is tightly controlled. You may sign up to speak before a meeting starts. However, once the business portion of the meeting has begun, you as a resident cannot participate unless you are on the agenda. If you have a pertinent question, or can add significant new information, or just want to make a comment, you cannot speak.

I have personally had this experience. An argument that is regularly presented is “you had a chance to speak at the beginning of the meeting.” But how can you know ahead of time what the discussion will reveal? Boards (and city council) are reluctant to allow residents’ discussion before a final vote is taken. This charter amendment states that the meeting must be open to residents after discussion and prior to a final vote. Comments must pertain to the issue(s) on the floor. Comments may be limited to three minutes per person and a maximum of 30 minutes per issue. No person shall be required to sign up prior to the meeting to address the board/commission during the resident’s discussion period. It is time to let residents participate in the process. These boards and commissions work for the residents and should welcome their input.

Frank A. Micchia, Canfield

Micchia is the architect of the proposed Canfield charter amendments.

Charter changes would hurt Canfield, Mayor Kay argues

On the Nov. 5 ballot, citizens of Canfield will be asked to vote for two proposed changes to the city charter that I and many others believe will be detrimental to the business of the city.

Any citizen of Canfield is welcome to address city council during the “persons wishing to address council” part of the meeting. Over the past four or five years, the gentleman who has asked for these charter amendments has spoken at nearly every council meeting. Council has listened patiently while he shares his ideas, opinions, questions, and suggestions. He now wants to speak during meetings of various city committees; however, he wishes to do so as the committee is discussing pertinent issues, rather than wait until the appropriate part of the meeting. I believe this would be a hindrance and would disrupt the normal course of business. A better course of action for him would be to choose a committee and seek an appointment.

The second charter proposal he has asked for would impose term limits on members of the various city government committees. The people serving on those committees are not politicians; they are citizens willing to give their time and expertise to make our city a better place to live. Because it has been difficult to identify people willing to serve on these committees, I have suggested we advertise vacancies in local media to better expedite the process. If a resident is interested in serving on a committee, he/she should submit a resume to the city manager.

In my opinion, it makes no sense to replace hard-working and dedicated citizens who do a great job for our city.

Finally, Canfield has a reputation for being a safe place to live, raise children and retire. This is due in great part to the many people, in the past and present, who have served and made decisions to continue this tradition by following the city charter as it stands.

I highly recommend that you vote no on the city charter amendment proposals.

Mayor William E. Kay, Canfield

Property-tax levy for roads is unfair route to take in Liberty

Liberty residents are being asked to support a road levy, and once again, the cost will fall on the backs of the property owners. Wait a minute, property owners are not the only ones who use the roads, so why should they shoulder the full burden? This levy is supposed to generate $266,000 a year, and the cost of paving one mile of road is $100,000. It will pay for paving, patching, road construction. According to the trustees, securing grants will help our dollars stretch so more roads can be paved.

With oil averaging $100-plus a barrel, not only will this levy be underfunded when it passes, it will need additional resources in the future, just to meet its initial proposal. Remember the 911 levy; it was supposed to generate revenue to hire one or two police officers. Instead it broke the township.

Liberty’s property taxes are significantly higher than the next highest community in Trumbull County; and we can’t afford to pave a road.

We have to be the laughingstock of Trumbull County. Up to November 2012, there were $6.2 million in unpaid property taxes in Liberty Township. Does being a responsible homeowner in Liberty mean, “you get stuck with the tab?” I repeat again for all those skeptics, “the higher the taxes; the lower the property values.” Tried to sell a home lately?

I have been a Liberty resident since 1981 and my road has never been paved, but I would rather have a patched road than an empty home with knee-high grass next door lowering my property value.

Until there is a fair and equal proposal presented to all the residents who use the roads in Liberty Township for consideration, I urge you to once again, vote no on the road levy.

Edward E. Palumbo Jr., Liberty

OSBA supports Howland tax levy

I am writing in support of the Howland Local School District’s levy on the Nov. 5 ballot. The 10-year, 3.9-mill additional emergency operating levy will strengthen education and learning in the district for years to come.

It will provide students with up-to-date technology and textbooks, along with school security and safety upgrades. The levy also would enable the district to retain teachers and stop student fee increases. In addition, the funds may allow the district to explore the option of providing all-day, every-day kindergarten.

The district has been facing many financial challenges. It has seen $2 million in funding cuts since 2011, voters have only approved one additional tax levy in 20 years, and charter schools continue to siphon more money away from the district.

The levy will cost homeowners just $11.38 a month per $100,000 of their home’s assessed value.

Jeff Chambers, ColumbusSFlbThe writer is director of communications for the Ohio School Boards Association.


Comments

1CompManRetired(28 comments)posted 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Re Columbus OSBA Chambers letter: The Vindy said it best: "After all, all 45 public school districts in the Mahoning Valley remain hostage to an antiquated and dysfunctional system of state funding to local school systems that has been declared unconstitutional by the state’s highest court." Therein lies the problem that school supers, boards, Ohio School Board Association and the unions needs to address with Columbus Politicos and not with taxpayers. Until these groups and the teachers act - who I respect for their efforts - I will Starve the Beast and hope for innovated change and legal change that truly is for the children and not for state and school administrative greed. They can start by reversing the 12.5% property tax rollback they elimimated.

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