We found an interesting article in the Tribune Chronicle, a Trumbull County newspaper. regarding a last minute proposed change to House Bill 62 dealing with the increase in the Gas Tax, and other transportation issues.
The article has comments from Lake County Commissioners Ron Young and John Hamercheck that may interest Lake County residents.
Here is an excerpt from the Tribune Chronicle article that shows the amendment that is causing the uproar:
“The amendment would be “permissive” in allowing money raised specifically for special groups like seniors and disabled people to be pooled to make up local matching funds to leverage for federal and state transportation dollars that support a public transit system all groups of people use on a first-come-first-served basis. The Trumbull Transit System has been doing so since its formation.”
So if LFC is understanding this correctly, the Trumbull Transit System has already been using this tactic, and now someone, somewhere, wanted that practice to be added to the House Bill 62. Why? – to now make it legal?
Here is Commissioner Young’s response quoted in the article:
“Thomas said one of the biggest supporters of the bill outside of himself, O’Brien and Trumbull County commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa and Dan Polivka is Lake County Commissioner Ron Young, who said he doesn’t know much about the amendment.”
“I don’t really understand it all. I don’t know what the language looks like. I am pushing the concept because it sounds OK. The prosecutor in Trumbull County said it is OK. I am not a cheerleader, but I am telling people I am supportive of the concept,” Young said. ….Huh….say what????….maybe misquoted….maybe out of context…maybe
Here is Commissioner Hamercheck’s response quoted in the article:
‘Thomas said the other counties want the legislation, including Lake County, which also uses CBS. (LFC Comment: We will need to find out what CBS (Community Bus Service) is all about.)
Lake County Commissioner John Hamercheck said he didn’t find out about the amendment — which he doesn’t support — until Thursday. It was first brought up publicly last year at Trumbull Transit Board meetings.
Hamercheck said he thinks the amendment could lead to the abuse of levy dollars taxpayers set aside for a certain thing.
“We don’t use senior levy money for public transportation. It is only expensed for the benefit of seniors. I had no knowledge this was happening,” Hamercheck said.
(LFC Comment: We agree completely with Commissioner Hamercheck. Taxpayers voting for a particular issue expect that the tax dollars generated are to be spent on that issue and not commingled for some other cause – regardless of how worthwhile the cause might be.)
LFC will contact our State Representative Jamie Callendar to see if he can shed any light on this subject.