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Trustees gather levy data for later consideration

January 25, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Austintown Township Trustees approved a motion to request the County Auditor to certify the amount of revenue that would be brought into the township from four different levies. All the levies involved funding for the Austintown Police Department.

The four levies included a .8 mill replacement levy, a 2.4 mill replacement levy, a 2.4 mill replacement plus an additional .8 mill, and a 1.0 mill additional.

"We are not putting four levies on the ballot," said Trustee Rick Stauffer. "We are just getting dollar amounts to see what each one would do."

All three trustees agreed that a police levy would be needed, so by submitting all four levy concepts, the amount each would bring will be known and help in deciding which way to go.

"Like other Ohio townships, we've been devastated by state and federal government," said Trustee Ken Carano. "We could have a loss of up to $9 million over the last six years and the state continues to take more and more money off of us. Is there a possibility of a levy coming up? Absolutely. We are not hiding it. We have tightened the belt and have run out of holes [to tighten more]."

The four levy options will be submitted to the county auditor and once the financial impact of each are known, trustees will be able to better select the one that can best serve the township.

Chairman Jim Davis said a special meeting could be set for Jan. 29 to make that decision. The deadline to put a levy on the May ballot is Feb. 8.

Davis said the Austintown Police Department is one of the most efficient departments in Ohio. He said Police Chief Bob Gavalier is doing the work of a department with 60 officers, but is doing it with only 40. Davis also mentioned the department has seven officers whose wages are paid for through grants.

Carano said if and when there is a decision to put a levy on the ballot, he and the other trustees will be happy to meet with groups to discuss it. In the meantime, Carano will be traveling to Columbus with Boardman Township trustees and other townships to find out why the state continues to cut funding to townships.

On a different issue, Township Administrator Mike Dockry reported the Westchester Drive road surface is again causing problems, but not where the patch was laid down.

"The good news is the patch is working," he said. "It looks like we need to continue that patch another 800 feet."

He said nothing can be done until summer. He also noted that the swing in temperatures has caused a lot of road damage for everyone in Ohio.

In other business:

Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer said Austintown Township Park will continue to take live trees until Jan. 31. He said those with trees can drop them at the park by following the signs.

Trustees voted to not require a hearing for the transfer of a Class D5I liquor permit from Peno 4626 LLC dba ElJalapeno II, 4626 Mahoning Ave. to Valcazar LLC, dba El Jalapeno, 4626 Mahoning Ave. Both the Police Chief and Zoning Inspector had no problems with the transfer.

Davis said the Austintown Rotary reverse raffle event will be held on March 3 and anyone looking to purchase the $150 tickets can get in touch with trustees for information.

Davis also mentioned the first Austintown Fourth of July committee meeting will be held on Feb. 12.



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