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Two Austintown levies fail

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

By Jordyn Grzelewski

jgrzelewski@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Austintown officials must go back to the drawing board after township voters turned down two new levies.

According to final unofficial results from the Mahoning County Board of Elections, 52.5 percent of voters voted against a 1-mill road levy, and 52.4 percent voted against a 1-mill police levy.

“Obviously we’re very disappointed in the results,” said township Trustee Jim Davis. “We work very hard to do things on a limited budget. ... We continually try to offer the same continued services with less and less money every year, and that’s why we were forced to reach out to the taxpayers.”

It’s not clear how the township will respond at this point, but staff cuts are not likely, Davis said.

“How do you reduce staff when you’re already 25 police officers less, 15 road employees less than communities of the same size?” he said. “We don’t want to talk layoffs at this point. ... We’ll start forecasting budgets for 2017 and 2018, and take a look at what we need to do.”

Most other tax issues in Mahoning County fared well.

The city of Canfield won approval, with 55 percent of the vote, of an additional 3.9-mill, five-year policy levy that will generate $767,546 annually.

Police Chief Chuck Colucci said the funds will be used to fill two open police positions, and maintain current positions and services.

“At the beginning of this campaign, we committed to running a truthful, honest, transparent campaign, and that’s the direction we’ll continue to move in,” he said. “We’re going to maintain our current level of staffing. Had the levy failed, we would have been looking at layoffs.”

Renewal levies also did well. Boardman Township won five-year renewals, with 60.6 and 63.75 percent of the vote, respectively, of a 3-mill levy that generates $1.3 million per year, and a 0.7-mill levy that generates $260,391 per year.

Boardman schools won approval, with 60 percent of the vote, of a combined 10-year, 5.5-mill renewal that generates $4.6 million per year.

The Mahoning County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ five-year renewal of a 2-mill levy that generates $5,304, 225 annually won the approval of 70.9 percent of voters, according to the final unofficial results.

“It’s a very positive outcome for our agency, and we’re really appreciative of the overwhelming support for our agency from the citizens of Mahoning County,” said Bill Whitacre, MCBDD superintendent.