Liverpool says no to building levy

LaCROFT — Liverpool Township trustees’ hopes for the passage of a new building levy fell by the wayside Tuesday as voters overwhelmingly denied an additional five-year 3-mill building levy.

According to complete, but unofficial, results from the Columbiana County Board of Elections, close to 66 percent of voters in the township voted against the measure, which would have secured funds for the construction and maintenance of a new township administration building to house both the township trustees and the police department.

Had the levy passed, the township would have received an additional $248,400 annually for the next five years, and taxpayers will have seen an increase of anywhere between $42 to $157, depending on the cost of their homes.

Although disappointed by the end result, Trustee Chairman Keith Burke and Police Chief Jayson Jackson showed their appreciation for those who supported the levy.

“Sure, we’re disappointed,” Burke, trustee chairman, said. “The voters have voted, and we thank the ones that voted for it, and we’ll just have to keep moving on with what we’re doing.”

Jackson said “I just like to thank everybody that came out and voted, for or against. We tried everything we could do to produce a building that people can get in and out of to do business with the police department, and (the current building) is still unsafe for the community as far as I’m concerned, and it’s still unsafe for my officers to operate out of.”

Throughout the course of the year, trustees expressed interest in moving its operations along with those of the police department to another facility, noting the problems that the current facility on Ada Street has been experiencing.

Among the key problems with the facility included access to the township’s police department — accessible only by climbing two flights of stairs, causing difficulty for handicapped and elderly residents. Room for the department also was a problem as Jackson commented in prior meetings, particularly for multiple-arrest cases.

“We have to take people up-and-down two flights of steps, and we have no room for expansion all throughout that building,” Jackson said. “We’ve caught a lot of heat for the old school building. The voters spoke, and I appreciate that.”

Trustees have also discussed other problems including bathrooms that are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant, as well as heating, storage, electrical and lighting issues.

Initially considering the former kindergarten building at Boring Lane as a site, trustees later decided to go for a newly-constructed facility across the roadway from the current administration building on Ada Street, this after speaking with architectural firm Baker, Bednar, Snyder and Associates of Warren, who noted that it would be less expensive to build a new structure than refurbish the old school building.

The levy received opposition as signs throughout the township were placed, asking voters to reject the levy.

The signs, along with a paid newspaper advertisement, were paid for by township resident Gary Bonnell, who said the $248,400 annual income–which would amount to $1.242 million during a five-year span–was too high of a price for a new administration building.

Bonnell also claimed passage would result in a pay raise for the trustees and fiscal officer, based on the state budget, but trustees said during Monday’s meeting that this claim was false.

Burke and Jackson said other avenues may now be looked at in securing financing.

“We’re going to look at some finances,” Jackson said. “I understand where people are coming from with the taxes and tax increases and everything, but we’ll look at it again and try a different route whether we get lucky enough to get some type of grant funding, or if we need to put it back on the ballot, that’ll be up to the trustees.”