November levies receive endorsementsWritten by Bailey G. Dick | | firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to voting for Toledo’s mayor, City Council members and school board members, voters will have the chance to voice their opinions on three levies this November.
Issue 1, which is a levy request from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, is a 0.4 mill, five-year renewal levy, which will go to support the organization’s economic and job development programs.
Port Authority Chairman of the Board Bill Carroll said he is confident voters will help the levy pass.
“The facts stand for themselves. We are able to show where we’ve created jobs and worked with small businesses in the community. Hopefully voters will see the benefit,” Carroll said. “If you vote for the levy, you can rest assured that these dollars are going back into the community for economic development, to create more jobs to make our city and our community more successful.”
Carroll said the Port Authority levy would not increase taxes for home-owners, and that the levy is collected at the level of 1994 property taxes. For the owner of a property valued at $100,000, the levy would cost $6.60 per year.
Carroll said funds would be used to help with projects similar to the cleanup the Port Authority did at the site of the former Jeep plant. Funds would also be used to acquire state and federal grants that may require matching or having a percentage of funds.
Important to the passage of any levy are endorsements from community organizations. One of those, the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees and the Toledo Area Small Business Association, recently endorsed all three levies on the November ballot.
Linda Amos, the head of the levy review committee at the Chamber of Commerce, said the organization looks at a number of criteria before making the call to endorse a levy, such as the Port Authority’s.
“We really look at this from a business standpoint, and how it affects business. We have a list of criteria, like if there are sources of funds available, how will it benefit the economic future of Toledo, and if certain taxes are the proper way of doing it,” Amos said. “We listen to the presentation we get from the agencies, and sort of decide if we want to support or not based on those criteria.”
When asked what made them decide to back the Port Authority levy, Amos said “Their record speaks for itself.”
“The Port Authority has a strong association with the chamber, and they are an economic driver in our community,” Amos said. “We felt strongly that they needed to be supported as well.”
Carroll said the Port Authority levy has also been endorsed by the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO.
Toledo Public Schools
Also on the ballot this November is Issue 24, a 6.5 mill, five-year renewal levy from Toledo Public Schools.
“The levy is an operating levy for us, so it takes care of things like keeping lights on in classrooms to paying teacher salaries,” TPS spokesperson Patty Mazur said. “It’s also a renewal levy, so people have already budgeted it into their monthly bills.”
The levy would cost the owner of a $60,000 property $104.55 per year.
Mazur said the district is already seeing support for the levy from what she called “a very active group of volunteers,” as well as positive feedback from fundraising efforts.
“We’re certainly hopeful it will pass. We’ve seen true progress, and people are finding new energy in our new superintendent, Dr. [Romules] Durant. He’s a hometown boy, a TPS grad and very proud of it,” Mazur said.
Mazur said all three unions of TPS employees, as well as Toledo City Council, the Lucas County Commissioners and the Chamber of Commerce have endorsed the levy.
Amos said it was important for the Chamber of Commerce to support the levy.
“TPS is such an important economic driver for any community, and we felt strongly, especially since it’s a replacement levy, that we should support it,” Amos said. “The loss of this renewal would actually be a reduction in their revenue sources, and they’re already having some difficulty from the state and federal level. This isn’t new money. So we would encourage that strongly.”
The third levy, Issue 2, is a 1.8 mill new and replacement levy that would support the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
This levy would replace two levies, one that dates back to 1958 and one that was passed in 1973.
John Trunk, superintendent of the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said the levy was meant to bring the levies up to today’s values, while adding $1 million of funding to support the organization’s programs.
“We are certainly going to be continuing to provide vital services to young children, like early intervention programs, support adults in rehabilitation and employment arrangements,” Trunk said. “We will continue to use those tax dollars to help provide residential support that many individuals rely on. More specifically, we will use some of those new dollars to focus on the aging caregiver waiting list.”
The owner of a $100,000 property would see an increase of $56.33 per year, or $1.08 per week.
Amos said the Chamber of Commerce endorsed the levy with some reservations.
“We decided to support but with some reservations because of the amount of the levy, and because they’re asking for additional money,” Amos said. “We’re just a little concerned because every time an agency takes funding for a levy out of the community, that’s money that’s not in the economy for other purposes. So that’s really where our reservations came from.”
However, Amos said they decided to endorse the levy because of the services the organization provides.
“Most of this money deals with residential services. There are eight caretakers in our community that are taking care of individuals with developmental disabilities that are over 55, so they are somewhat at risk. We really need to provide for these people if something would happen to their caregiver,” Amos said.
“This is the perfect opportunity for the average citizen to make an investment in the quality of life of another person. We provide support for 5,400 people with developmental disabilities who, for a large part, rely on the board and our network of organizations that support us. That means for a young child to get the therapy and in-home supervision they need, for young adults to have help finding meaningful employment, to find roommates and eventually live independently, and for older adults to be able to engage in services,” he said.
Issue 2 has received endorsements from a number of community agencies, as well as the Lucas County Commissioners, the AFL-CIO, Teamsters and UAW.
Amos said deciding to endorse any of the three levies has to do with what the community wants and needs.
“We want jobs, we want to promote economic development and good growth in the community,” Amos said. “The Port Authority certainly does that. And the Board of Developmental Disabilities, we are judged by how we take care of those less fortunate than us. So we support those types of agencies. I think TPS, it’s important that we have a good school system in our community.”
Tags: AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce, City Council, Commerce Board of Trustees, Democratic Party, Dr. Romules Durant, John Trunk, Linda Amos, Lucas County Baord of Developmental Disabilities, Port Authority, Port Authority Chairman of the Board Bill Carroll, Spokesperson Patty Mazur, Toledo, Toledo Area Small Business Association, Toledo Public Schools, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, TPS