Hoping city learned its levy lesson

There won’t be an East Liverpool fire levy on the November ballot.

The reason behind it, we believe, should be embarrassing to city leaders.

It comes down to something simple – a missed deadline.

During its July 15 meeting, council approved placing the 8-mill levy before voters. The proper paperwork merely needed submitted by Aug. 7 to the Columbiana County Board of Elections in Lisbon.

It wasn’t.

It was dropped off a day later, Aug. 8, after a city councilman noticed the levy wasn’t included among others listed in a story appearing in the newspaper.

On Aug. 16, the Board of Elections denied its inclusion on the ballot.

The elections board did what it was supposed to do in following procedure. It sought opinion. Discussed its merits. And then made the correct decision to not allow the late levy to bypass the rules that are in place.

Most likely, the missed deadline won’t affect future consideration among voters. Or it shouldn’t. The levy is a renewal, every five years, and has been passed previously by voters, the last time in 2008.

It’s an important levy to the city and its fire protection; vital to the operations of the department.

There will be other chances for the levy to be put before voters – at least two more attempts before it actually expires. The collection of the levy, which accounts for about two-thirds of the fire department’s funding, will continue until 2015, because tax collections always are one year behind.

Frankly, it doesn’t matter to us whose responsibility it was to get the paperwork to Lisbon. It may be one’s person duty to deliver the levy, but, ultimately, there should be a checklist involved with more than one set of eyes.

There have been other levy issues in the recent past with the city. Perhaps this second snafu should serve as a lesson learned that a more diligent process needs set in place when dealing with city business.