[LFC Comments: In our last article dealing with the potential violation of O.R.C. 9.03, we stated that we were going to contact Ohio’s Attorney General and ask for them for a ruling. We discovered that this has already been done by some concerned citizens. Here is an article that provides our readers with the details. A big “thumbs up” to the citizens for getting involved in their community.]
Are Concord Trustees misusing tax dollars promoting Issue 1?
Written by: Concerned Concord Citizens
Concord Twp, Ohio – All government officials, including the Concord Trustees, are prohibited from using taxpayer money to promote the passage of a bond issue, per the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 9.03. Yet, in what seems to be a clear violation of the law, Concord Township printed a three-page article in the fall issue of the community newsletter, the Grapevine, where voters were directly asked for their support in passing the levy. The three-page article extolling the benefits of new fire stations funded by Issue 1, a proposed bond levy, states, “‘We now need to ask Concord residents for their support,’ said Morgan McIntosh, Trustee.”
A group of active and concerned Concord citizens fighting Issue 1, known as Affordable Concord Taxes (ACT), asked the Fraud Department of the Auditor of State’s Office to review and determine if further investigation of misuse of taxpayer funds based on ORC 9.03 is warranted.
Mr. William Donovan, Assistant Legal Counsel for Auditor of State examined the issue of the Grapevine in question and stated in an email, “I have referred the materials (Grapevine, e- Grapevine, and the embedded video) to our regional auditors in Northeast Ohio. They will review the materials and include any instances of non-compliance with Ohio law in the next available audit report for Concord Township.” This validation, from a State of Ohio level third party, supports ACT’s contention that Concord Township should be formally investigated for this potential misuse of taxpayer funds.
“It’s unfortunate the Trustees have risked breaking the law by spending taxpayer money to promote passage of a bond levy which would unnecessarily raise taxes to build an excessive $8.8 million Station 1 on Rt. 608 when there are alternative ways forward,” stated Bob Sanderson, ACT’s Treasurer.
ACT believes the Township must be fiscally responsible when spending taxpayers’ money. This includes supporting the building of effective and economical new stations using alternative financing options, rather than relying on increased taxes, as was shown in the Administrator’s financial presentation on 7-14-20.
In addition, the Assistant Legal Counsel for Auditor of State recommended we speak to the Lake County Prosecutor regarding an investigation. If found in violation of the law, the Concord Trustees should reimburse taxpayers for these expenses. Furthermore, the Trustees should refrain from continuing their one-sided, media onslaught promoting raising taxes to build new stations when alternative options are available.
[LFC Comments: Good luck getting the Lake County Prosecutor’s office to do an investigation on this matter. Their role is to prosecute criminals and “provide cover” for our politicians and bureaucrats, not helping citizens with free legal advice. It would be easier and faster filling in Lake Erie with loads of dirt and a shovel than getting their help. ]