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.
LFC concurs with Mr Patterson’s opinion.