Build Station 2 / Vote No on Issue 1
As we’re sure you know by now, our Trustees have apparently disregarded many of the informed opinions and ideas expressed by residents at the recent series of public meetings. They are again proposing fire station plans with the same excessive cost as last year and which don’t fit our community’s specific needs, both in terms of size and cost.
And as if they didn’t learn anything from the resounding defeat of Issue No. 1 less than a year ago, they are rushing to pass an unnecessary tax levy that will saddle all of us with long-term tax bills – and all of this in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis.
Affordable Concord Taxes (ACT) believes – as we know many of you do – that there’s a more sensible and cost-effective way to accomplish this critical capital project, and we wanted to share our key arguments related to the Trustees’ apparent rush to push their interests through “under the gun.”
Concord’s Trustees are asking for an $8 million tax levy, which will increase our taxes for 26 years – and all during an unprecedented economic crisis and record unemployment.
· In a recent public meeting, they referred to the $8 million as a “just in case” amount, but we see it as a padded tax levy that will cost residents more than $1,500 over time.
· It’s absurd to claim this fire tax levy is justified simply because it is approximately the same millage as the Morley Library levy that is ending and which will provide much needed tax relief to residents. Almost half of the Concord residents won’t get the tax relief because they are in the Mentor Library area of Concord.
Trustees are presenting residents with the same costs and similar size stations as last year – all of which is unnecessary and wasteful spending.
· The Trustees didn’t listen to residents who presented ways to design streamlined and reasonably priced stations that won’t require additional taxes. When the Trustees voted to place this issue on the ballot, there was no detailed floor plan or accurate cost estimate presented for the 23,000 square-foot Station No. 1 on Rt. 608, yet the Trustees stated this enormous facility will require $8.8 million to build.
· Both stations are approximately double the national average for cost per square foot, but a number of other surrounding townships deliver five-star emergency-response services with new fire stations that are much more affordable.
The smart approach – which a number of residents, including those with architecture and emergency response experience, suggested – is to first build a streamlined Station No. 2 on Prouty Rd. with available cash.
· During this construction process, the Trustees can identify cost saving measures as they develop the plan for Station No. 1 – a plan that is more appropriate to our community’s specific needs, both in terms of size and cost.
· Likewise, the Trustees can build the main station using cash and general obligation bonds that won’t increase taxes – as even their own presentation showed was an option – and interest rates and construction costs will remain low given this economic crisis.
Our elected officials must prove they can be responsible stewards of our tax dollars and build these desperately needed fire stations – all without holding our firefighters and EMS crews hostage even longer over a second attempt at a tax levy.
· If this new tax levy is passed, it appears the Trustees will have extra money for their other projects, all of which would not require voter approval.
· Specifically, we would end up paying for 70% of the two stations’ costs, while the Township could spend the extra cash flow on a number of projects they have already initiated, such as developing the $1 million seven-acre parcel on Capital Parkway for the previously failed Town Center, expanding the cemetery, and building a multimillion-dollar addition to the Town Hall.
All of us showed up at the polls last November to send a clear message to our elected officials and the administration that we expect more fiscally responsible stewardship of our tax dollars. And we now need to do that again, but with not much time before the ballot on November 3rd.
Please forward this information to friends or neighbors who you think would like to be more informed about what’s going on. They can also send us their contact information and we’ll include them in future emails. People can also go to www.affordableconcordtaxes.com for the most up-to-date information.
Even more so than last year, we will be up against a well-funded campaign, supported primarily by unions, developers, and politicians. ACT is made up of Concord citizens who care about how our township is fiscally managed. We hope you’ll join us in distributing fliers and lawn signs and participating in fundraising events. You can reply to this email and are welcome to do as much or as little volunteer work as you’d like.
With you in making a difference,
PRO FIREFIGHTERS • PRO CONCORD • PRO TAXPAYERS
[LFC Comments: We previously wrote an article about the proposed fire levy.
For the record, the current Morley Library Debt Service levy is .5 mills, and will stop in 2021. The proposed Concord Fire Levy is .6 mills for 26 years. In our opinion, the levies are being tied together by a very savvy political consultant that also doubles as the Lake County Auditor, and Chairman of the JEDD Board. Are we asking too much to expect a reduction in our property taxes?
The fire station on Prouty Road should have be replaced 10 years ago, but the Malchesky, Galloway, Luhta team focused on the Town Center concept, and squandered the taxpayers’ money on 7 acres of land, and a built a road and roundabout to no where.
The COVID-19’s negative impact on the State and local economy will have State and County officials raising property taxes, or sales taxes to cover their loss in revenue.
We are calling for an S.O.S. — Save our Seniors!]