To the editor: I am writing to acknowledge the effort of many people who work in our local government.
After Port Clinton voters passed a bond issue for new buildings in November, an extensive document called an Official Statement was required to be produced. The 80-plus page document compiled demographic and statistical data from our school district, city and townships.
Jamie Bier Grant, director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, provided timely information on our industrial parks and employers. JoEllen Regal, Ottawa County Auditor, and her staff provided all types of data related to millage rates, assessed values and levies. Robert Hille, Ottawa County Treasurer, and his staff provided tax and delinquency data. Current school board members David Belden, Barb Drusbacky, Beth Benko, Michele Mueller and Paul Shaw were asked to have many special meetings to accommodate many legal documents that had to be approved. Walt Wehenkel, a former school board member and regional planning director, also provided data necessary to complete this report.
In a day in which there is much scrutiny of our elected officials, I wanted to let our community know just how much I appreciate the officials in Port Clinton and Ottawa County for their cooperation and willingness to help when asked. Their dedicated work helped the district secure a very high bond rating that led to a low interest rate for our bonds and I did not want their efforts to go unnoticed.
Port Clinton City Schools Treasurer
To the editor: As the May 4 election approaches, it is wonderful to see all the yard signs and the letters of support in the news media for the passage of the Issue #6 Senior Levy Renewal. The tremendous support for the senior citizens of Ottawa County is evidenced by passage of the past senior levies.
The Senior Levy has enabled the continuation and growth of the delivered meal programs, home care, Alzheimer’s cay care, senior services, senior centers/dining sites and the 60+ Senior Health Clinics.
One aspect I would like to point out is the fact that the senior levy has also resulted in “senior involvement.” The Ottawa County Senior Advisory Board has encouraged seniors through board members from each site to provide input to and receive direct information from Senior Resources and the county commissioners.
Over the last four years, the Ottawa County Senior Activities Committee (OCSAC) has grown from a few members to representatives from the five mainland senior sites. The Activities Committee is self-supporting and promotes activities throughout the county including the “In Your Own Back Yard” series highlighting each site and its hometown, as well as the countywide picnic, “Day at the Bay,” open houses at each site, and the “Chili Cook-off and Barn Dance,” to name a few.
Through sponsorship, the committee has organized and hosted a countywide big band dance in Oak Harbor for the past three years, providing entertainment not only for dancers of all ages but also for our guests from area nursing homes.
Knowing how we have all suffered from the economic crisis, we decided to do as much for ourselves as possible. For the last three-plus years, through the dances, 50/50 raffles, cookbook sales and an OSU game tickets raffle, the committee has raised over $9,000 for the Senior Levy Renewal Fund. All of these events were organized, promoted and run by seniors from Ottawa County.
The Senior Levy Committee itself is comprised primarily of seniors who have been planning and working together over the last few months to develop the campaign and to promote of the Issue #6 Senior Levy Renewal. This is not only “senior involvement” but also “senior empowerment.”
The seniors of Ottawa County have benefited by the passage of the existing levy in many ways and in return, the taxpayers have gotten “bang for their buck.”
Please continue your generous support and vote yes for Issue #6.
Juanita R. Mills-Persely
Past Chair (2005-2009), Acting Chair, Events and Fundraising
Ottawa County Senior Activities Committee
Rethinking school taxes
To the editor: This is my ninth year on the Genoa school board. I have worked through several financial reductions and levy requests. The one overriding comment that I have heard from the community is the stress that has been placed on property taxes, especially among those on fixed incomes. Thus, the finance committee looked outside the Genoa school district for answers. There are school districts in the area (Eastwood and Otsego as examples) that have balanced the playing field with a mix of income tax and property tax. This is definitely a different way of thinking in our district, but one that I hope the community understands as an attempt to balance things more evenly.
Given the economic times, no new tax is popular, but the fact that if you are on a fixed income or even unemployed, this rebalancing should have a positive impact. For those of you fortunate enough to have a job, this will most likely be more of a burden. For parents, we tried to level set this with reduced fees. For all property owners, we will not renew the 5-mill levy in 2012.
Regarding financial reductions, the newspapers have not been filled with all the savings we have had over the past years which should be regarded as positive news for our community. We continue to post positive news regarding our students and staff without financials being at the forefront. The facts are that we have been fortunate that cuts have been made using retirements that were not back-filled and other unpopular rebalancing that has netted the district more than $750,000 in savings just last year and $1.8 million over the past six years. If there had not been retirements, the papers would have been filled with news because we would have had to have additional staff reductions.
Please give this income tax and property tax rebalancing a fair review. As stated above, this is definitely a different approach, and it will not impact everyone the same as a straight property tax. Thank you for your consideration on May 4.
Genoa school board finance committee