LACROFT - A levy claimed to be crucial to the survival of the police department was discussed during a meeting of Liverpool Township's Board of Trustees on Monday evening.
The 1.5 mill replacement levy, with a 1.5 mill addition for a total 3 mills, was approved by the board at its previous meeting. The levy is expected to cost the owner of a $100,000 house approximately $39 per year.
"It's crucial to maintain the police department," said board Chairman Karl "Butch" Kontnier. Following the naming of a treasurer for the campaign, promotion of the measure will begin in earnest.
Trustees are pursuing a renewal so that funds can be collected at current valuation rather than present levy, which collects at its original 1993 valuation rate. Kontnier said he has already heard pushback from some residents saying they don't want to pay any more taxes. In reply, Kontnier rhetorically asked, "If you end up not having a police department, how far do you think your property is going to fall in valuation?"
Kontnier took the discussion of the levy as an opportunity to air grievances about the funding cuts that Liverpool Township and municipalities around the state have endured in recent years. He blamed the current state legislature and the administration of Governor John Kasich for "ripping off all the little entities" and encouraged voters to be informed about the loss of revenue.
"I think everybody needs to pay attention to what's going on here," he said. Kontnier predicted that the number of levies around the state would only increase as funding cuts continue.
Kontnier also voiced his support for a proposed resolution from Lisbon village council to receive a share of the casino profits distributed by the state to the county. Lisbon would join East Palestine and Salem in making such a request to Columbiana County Commissioners.
"They're absolutely right," he said.
Currently, revenues from the newly-opened casinos in Cleveland and Toledo are distributed to all school districts and counties in Ohio. However, the 10 largest cities in the state are the only municipalities that receive direct payment of casino revenues. Kontnier said this was unfair since cities are already the recipients of larger portions of government funding than smaller townships and villages. "Most little entities get next to nothing," he said.
Township roads foreman Bill Hutchman said he was waiting on additional blacktop in order to complete an ongoing paving project encompassing a half-mile of Seventh Avenue, nearly a half-mile of Hess Road, and Boyd Road. Towards that end, township fiscal officer Cristine Sell requested an appropriations amendment for the Road Department that would increase personnel spending by $14,500 and decrease general spending by an equal amount. Trustees approved the measure unanimously.
In other business, trustees discussed an offer made by FirstEnergy Solutions regarding a seven-year fixed rate plan that would amend its current aggregation agreement. Trustee Steve Betteridge said it would be an extension on the savings township residents are currently receiving. "Everybody thinks [electric rates] are going to continue to go up," he said.
Kontnier said to his knowledge, no one in the township ever received an opt-out letter from FirstEnergy Solutions to begin with. It was alleged, however, that AEP Ohio never sent a list of its current customers in the township to FirstEnergy, leaving them unaware of who to send opt-out letters to in the first place. The letters were supposed to be sent to customers in May.
The next meeting of Liverpool Township Board of Trustees will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, at the township administration building.