Concord Township Stakeholder Meeting

Written by Brian Massie     6/17/20

The Concord Trustees held a meeting last night at the Quail Hollow Inn allowing citizens to express their views on the proposed fire stations.   This is a legacy issue that was started by the former trustees, Paul Malchesky, now the Painesville Municipal Court Judge, and Chris Galloway, now Lake County Auditor.   Recently, a .83 mill property tax levy to pay for the proposed main fire station was defeated by the Concord voters.

We applaud the efforts of the current Trustees and Administrator to be totally transparent with this project, and to allow voters a chance to express their views. There were approximately 80 people in the audience with another 11 participating on-line.

Although the Virginia based consultants reviewed the prior plans and gave their rationale in planning for the two new fire stations, we were told that the current Trustees are completely re-thinking the projects.

There were people on both sides of the issue, with a few stating that whatever the Fire Chief wants to build, we should approve.  There were a couple of seniors in the audience that stated that they can no longer afford the increasing property taxes.

For the most part, the meeting was cordial with civil discourse.  However, Concord resident, Chris Galloway, (yes, the former Trustee and current Auditor) spoke and said that the Township’s fire department was being penalized for the continued increases in property taxes passed for the schools.  This brought some jeers from the audience, and the Chairman, Carl Dorndorfer, correctly jumped in to restore order.

There seems to be nearly unanimous agreement that the 50 year old fire stations need to be replaced.  However, there are many questions about the projected costs, the size of the proposed fire stations, and exactly how are they to be funded.  The current Trustees are having to deal with the fact that the prior Trustees dramatically increased property taxes and passed continuous levies that will be collected forever without the needed accountability to the residents.

There is also the indisputable fact that property taxes continue to increase, and if we stay on the path of increasing property taxes we will price seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes that they have worked all their lives to achieve.

The Trustees have promised answers to all of the questions asked by the residents.  We look forward to their responses.

*****

The following email was written by Concord resident, Bob Patterson, to the Concord trustees:

“I understand there is a meeting at Quail tonight.  Although I am not able to attend, I want to give you some input respectfully.

Please do not build a fire station if you have to increase our taxes.  Instead, sell the land the previous Trustees bought and use that $1,500,000 to $2,000,000 approximately as a down payment and then use the JEDD funds for the rest.

Pleas [sic] use caution in the next 12 months as we are about to see some nasty repercussions from this pandemic.  If I were you, I would not spend a dime until we see if the state or county is going to experience serious tax revenue shortfalls.  This would also impact the local government fund and our beloved Concord Township not to mention the financial markets.

The Fed has already committed to low interest rates the next 2 years so there should be no hurry.

But most importantly, our senior citizens CANNOT AFFORD MORE TAX INCREASES!
Kind Regards,
Bob Patterson
*****

LFC concurs with Mr Patterson’s opinion.



Categories: Concord, Lake County Cities & Townships, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

4 replies

  1. I asked the Trustees to give us a very detailed breakdown of the 2 best options they put forward last evening. I look forward to seeing the pros/cons of each option. There was mention that if they do a bond deal without coming to the tax payer, the interest rate will be higher. Interest on $18M would be a good chunk of change. I suppose lending to a township is a higher risk when it is not backed by a tax levy…the lender knows the tax man collects one way or the other…low risk loan when there is a tax levy involved.

    For the record…there should never be another continuous tax levy proposed by Concord Township to its citizens. It is a slap in the face to us all. To me, that is the essence of taxation without representation. The township never has to come back to the voter. I will NEVER vote for a continuous tax levy, and neither should any of you reading this article.

    I do not think that the 3 options presented last evening are the only options available either. I do believe that Mr. Patterson makes some very valid points. My husband and I discussed this with some of our neighbors last night. Our economy has been devastated. We still do not know the full impact of this lockdown over COVID-19. We really need to put the brakes on hard right now.

    Government folk received all their paychecks…benefits, etc. I’m not sure that anyone was furloughed in the government anywhere. Many local cities and even folks in the county cycled employees in and out of the office, but I’m pretty sure they all received their full paycheck and payments to PERS.

    The private sector, as is always the case, was hit very hard. Small businesses, which are a huge economic engine for our country, are slowly coming back. Unfortunately though, some businesses will not make it back…there will be collateral damage. It is not the right time to come to the taxpayer for $18M to build 2 fire stations. If we have cash on hand to build Fire Station 2, start on that and then take Mr. Patterson’s advice about selling the land to use for a down payment on getting funding for Fire Station 1. Can the township get funding from any other sources? How about building 3 fire stations the size of Fire Station 2 which would give Concord more coverage? Do we have to build them within a year?

    And why in God’s name did we not go with a local, or at least in Ohio, architect? I’m sure there was a bidding process and Ohio firms were considered. I’d like to know how much money we have wrapped up in this Virginia firm? Was there not a firm in the entire state of Ohio that could do this work? We hear all the time how important economic development is, how best to do it, how best to fund it, whether it should be subbed out to a non-profit entity or a port authority, etc. I think one of the easiest things to do to drive economic development is to ensure that we look to buy local before we go out of state.

    I agree with Mr. Patterson, and I think I speak for most of my neighbors…had coffee with those who could not attend last night this AM. No one, even the younger folks in my neighborhood, wants their property taxes to go up. We are trying to attract young people to our communities. We don’t want to price seniors and young families out of Concord.

    I am grateful to the Concord Trustees and Andy Rose for their efforts at transparency. They indicated that last night’s meeting was the first of several. I know we can work together to find a solution that benefits everyone. Sometimes there needs to be compromises though…and it cannot be only on the side of the people.

    You can’t always get what you want…but sometimes…you might find…you get what you need. 🙂

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  2. I’m looking forward to our Concord community to be safer with new fire stations. God bless.

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  3. Faith…thanks for the comments. I’ll jump on a few here and answer the rest later. First…I keep hearing about $18 million. I do not know the source of that number. Do you?
    There were many government employees laid off/furloughed. Over 100 part timers and I think 13-14 full timers in a neighboring community alone. There were others. In Concord, the facility attendants were not called into work and we cut all OT to preserve dollars. We were fortunate and avoided furloughs.
    As for the architects….I have ALL the packages of the submittals in my office. We selected who we thought was the best. In addition, the engineer partner with the architect for the project is a local firm (AECOM) and the engineer project manager is a Concord resident. It doesn’t get more local than that. Architects are only 1/2 the story…it’s also about who they marry up with on the project to do all the engineering work.

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    • Thanks Andy. I’ll stop by to see you soon!

      As for the $18M…that’s what I heard at the meeting the other night so that’s where I heard it. I did not hear any of the Trustees or Ms. Dawson counter that number.

      Thank you for the information about the layoffs and furloughs in the neighboring community. Do you know if all of these folks were returned to work? For those furloughed, will they receive their back pay and PERS?

      Kudos to you the Concord Township Administration and the Trustees for avoiding furloughs! Very happy to hear that. 🙂

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