Keep Willoughby Safe, Vote NO for “Safety” Levy

By Lake County Resident’s Opinion

Did you know that Willoughby isn’t safe? Did you know that you must suddenly vote for safety? Almost overnight signs are popping up all over Willoughby imploring residents to “Vote YES for Safety”. It’s not about safety at all. Safety is a buzzword, a scare tactic to separate you from your hard earned money. You’re already safe. You’re not at risk. Here’s the story:

The city recently spent more than $2.5 MILLION of your tax dollars on an aging 2 story behemoth of a building that used to house a media company. Residents weren’t asked to to vote on this reckless purchase. It wasn’t on the ballot. You had no formal say. In the week before Christmas while you were decorating the tree, wrapping gifts and planning your meal the city blew two million, five hundred forty five thousand dollars of your money for a fantasy police station.

Why? Let Mayor Fiala tell you in a recent News-Herald story about why they bought this artifact:

“We face a number of challenges,” he said. “Forty percent of crimes committed in Lake County come from people outside of Lake County. The criminals are different. The crimes are different. We’re arresting 15-year-old car thieves now, so what we’re seeing in our city today, from both the crimes and the criminals, are far different than we’ve seen over the years.”

Willoughby Mayor Bob Fiala

There’s the answer. 2.5 million of your tax dollars were spent on an ancient building because….drum roll please.

  • Forty percent of crimes committed in Lake County come from people outside of Lake County. (NOT crimes in Willoughby, Lake County)
  • The criminals are different. (Um, okay?)
  • The crimes are different. (And…?)
  • We’re arresting 15-year-old car thieves now

There you have it. Because the criminals are “different”, a 15 year old stole a car, and a useless statistic about county criminals Willoughby spent over $2.5 million dollars of your money on an old empty building without your permission. Ridiculous, isn’t it?

The city claims that the existing police station needs repair:

“…also has aging equipment. Mechanical equipment, boilers, hot water tanks, roofs, windows and the exterior are all in need of repair”

Okay let’s sort this out and follow the logic here. The city had 2-1/2 million dollars to blow on an old “new” building because the existing old “old” building needs repairs… they spent 2.5 million on another old building that needs repairs? Why not repair the old “old” building instead of the “new” old building? They had 2-1/2 million dollars! Had. Now residents are stuck with two old buildings and are out 2-1/2 million bucks. The taxpayers haven’t committed to any of this. Great plan Willoughby!

Anyone have any questions? Some questions for the city to answer while you’re voting “NO”:

1). If the smaller existing building needs repair, how much money in repairs is the massive 31,632 sq.ft. building going to need AFTER the city spent millions just for the privilege of fixing it up?

2). There’s no taxpayer commitment to develop this building. Why did the city buy this building with no existing commitment from the taxpayers to fund it’s improvement?

3). If the levy fails, what happens to the vacant 2-1/2 million dollar building? Is there a plan in place, and what is it?

4). Was the building listed on the market for sale?

5). How did the city get the opportunity to buy the building? Was anyone else offered the opportunity?

6). Is Mayor Fiala still employed by, or a principal in, or a full or partial owner of Then Design Architecture?

7). Will Then Design Architecture, its subsidiaries, or business contacts be involved in ANY aspect of the renovation including consultation?

8). How did Willoughby pay for the “new” old building: cash, loan, bonds, or?

Lake County has lost taxes: No matter the outcome, the city and county has lost $58,634.00 per year. The 2022 property taxes for the building were $58,634.00 annually. By purchasing this building that tax money is gone forever. The city pays no taxes. The 58 grand in yearly property tax income has vanished and will get shifted to the residents.

Vote “NO”! If you live in Willoughby ask yourself, the mayor, your councilman: If this levy fails am I no longer safe? Why do the signs say I have to vote for safety? You, the reader, know the answer. You’re still safe. Your hard earned money is safe.  The police will still be there the day after you vote it down. They’ll still answer the phone, respond.

Vote “NO” on this levy until you have a secure, solid and clear understanding on what exactly is going on with this deal, who’s involved, how it happened. You have plenty of time. Let the city put together a proper and honest detailed package to present to the voters for a future vote. There’s plenty of time and it’s all on your side..


Categories: Lake County - General, Lake County Cities & Townships, Willoughby


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