Austintown trustees talk about levies
By Amanda Tonoli
Township trustees will put the recently defeated police replacement levy back on the November ballot.
Voters said no last week to a 2.4-mill replacement levy that would have added an additional 0.8 mills and increased the levy’s annual revenue to $1.9 million for police services.
“This November, you get to vote for governor,” Trustee Jim Davis at Monday night’s meeting. “Go talk to Richard Cordray or call Mike DeWine’s campaign and ask if they’re going to release the rainy-day fund back to the communities. That’s the only way they’re going to get your vote. Otherwise, you’re going to see this levy again.”
DeWine is the current Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate. Cordray is a former state treasurer and attorney general and is the Democratic gubernatorial candidate.
Trustee Ken Carano agreed with Davis.
“Call Gov. John Kasich and tell him to take that $2.5 billion rainy-day fund and give us back our money,” he said. “Then we wouldn’t have to ask you for money. ... It’s lightning, thundering and raining like hell in Austintown. The problem is now what do we do about it? Is the levy going to be on the ballot again? You betcha! ... There’s nothing else we can do about it.”
Another problem Carano cited for the levy’s failure is that about 6,000 people voted in the May election in a township of 40,000 residents.
“I can’t do anything unless I have power behind me,” Carano said. “I don’t like to compare us to Boardman, but they almost doubled our vote. ... We lost by 18 votes. The irony is a lot of people didn’t vote.”
Both Carano and Davis said people don’t like levies.
“Jim Davis, [fiscal officer] Laura Wolfe and Ken Carano do not like levies,” Carano added. “This levy was strictly to try to keep level what we have. Police have to do their job. When police go over their budget, it comes out of the general fund, and when it comes out of general fund, that comes from your roads.”
It costs $110,000 to pave about a mile of road, he added, and there are a lot of roads in Austintown that haven’t been paved in 10 years.
Davis pleaded for voters to better educate themselves about the township’s finances and need for levies.
“I don’t have an ego or think that I have all the answers, and I sure will get creative, but I can’t do it when my hands are tied,” he said.
In other business, park supervisor Todd Shaffer announced these dates and times for park area openings: the splash pad will open at noon May 25; the trash and treasure sale will be in the parking lot of the Stacey Pavilion on May 27; and Concerts in the Park will begin from 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 5.