New Waterford: Need levy to avert more cuts
NEW WATERFORD – Village officials hope voters approve a one-mill additional replacement levy next week.
If approved, the one-mill will be added to three mills currently being collected to cover current operating expenses.
The county auditor calculated the revenue to be generated at $50,200 annually depending on valuations remaining constant for the life of the five-year levy.
Village officials are unanimous about passing the levy and when council placed it on the ballot during a special meeting in January, all five voting members approved it.
Newly appointed Councilman Ken Biddle was absent at that meeting but is behind the levy.
In January, Mayor Shane Patrone said Fiscal Officer Dave Slagle said the village has made all the cuts it can without taking aim at the police department and street lighting.
Patrone repeated that this week.
“Everyone sees the need for a little bit of an increase and what we can do with it,” Patrone said. “We’ve done everything we can.”
If the levy fails next week and in November, while not laying off one of the three full-time police officers, “we won’t be able to cover all shifts with three full-timers … we’ll have to eliminate some part-time shifts try to soften the blow,” he said.
The officers are the lowest paid in the county, Patrone said, adding that if the levy has to be placed on the November ballot and fails then, the village would also be forced to look at cutting street lighting too.
Council gave the issue careful consideration when it placed it on the ballot.
Councilman Tom Cresanto said, “To me, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it … it’s like an old tire and we patch it and patch it and we can’t patch it anymore.
“We need a new tube, we can’t patch it anymore with all the state cuts.”
Councilman George Pirock said, “We feel it’s necessary for the village in order to keep funding the way we’d like to go … we need to provide the community with necessities.”
If it doesn’t pass next week, Pirock said, “We’ll put it back on in November. Basically, in order for us to have the funds available we have to pass it. We operate on a tight budget as it is. Without the levy it’ll be that much tighter.
“We will be out talking to people; we’ve talked among ourselves and as we see other people we talk about passing along a positive message.”
Councilman Bill Mullarkey said, “I think it’s something the village needs. We’ve cut out expenses all we can … the state cuts have affected us big time.”
Asked what he would tell voters who sat they are not voting for the levy, Mullarkey said, “The next thing we’d start cutting is the police force and that’s something we don’t want to do.
“The village wants police but if push comes to shove we’ll do it.”
Councilwoman Doris Ogle said, “It’s absolute necessary because of the loss of the Local Government Funds of $30,000 over the last four years.
“If we lay off policemen that increases crime and the lights (have to be looked at),” Ogle said, adding the part-time officer earns $8.65 an hour.
“There have been no raises for five years,” she said.
Councilman Gary DeMarchis said, “We had a lot of very deep discussions on this … for us to stay in a positive (position) this is must for us.
“It comes down to making the village better … it will pay us back three-fold in dividends with the police department, the lights … streets, everything … we need to have that money for this.
“I’ll tell you one thing, it’s very comforting to see a cruiser out at 3 a.m.”
Patrone said they’re doing what they can with what they have noting that Taylor Street, Main Street to the underpass and state Route 46 will receive attention this year.
“We’re trying for a five-year plan,” he said, adding that all the streets in the center of town will be addressed.
If approved, the levy will cost the owner of a $40,000 home $30.59 a year ($2.55 a month), or the owner of a $50,000 home, $38.20 a year ($3.18 a month) while the owner of a $60,000 home will pay $45.89 a year ($3.82 a month).
The owner of an $80,000 home will pay $61.18 a year ($5.10 a month), the owner of a $90,000 home will pay $68.83 a year ($5.74 a month), the owner of a $100,000 home will pay $76.48 annually ($6.37 a month) and the owner of a $150,000 home will pay $114.71 annually ($9.56 a month).
Last year, Slagle was hired as fiscal officer at $5,961 a year less than his predecessor.
That cut was part of an overall package of $32,931 in reductions over 12 months implemented by council.
Larry Shields can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org