Updated October 16, 2023 – Response from the Concord Township Trustees – see the complete response at the end of the article.
By Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall
A very concerned Concord Township, Lake County, Ohio taxpayer sent us the following article regarding the new safety levy for publication. If there are opposing views that you would like published, please send them to LobbyistsforCitizens@gmail.com.
We will be meeting with the Administrator and Fiscal Officer to review Concord’s financial projections on the safety levy, and we will report our findings to our readers.
Vote No on the 6.5 mill Replacement Safety Levy
Hello Concord neighbor,
Concord’s 6.5 mill proposed Safety Services levy (Issue 3) will DOUBLE our taxes for this levy, provide the township with a slush fund of about $1 million annually, and allow continued excessive spending. I cannot support such a levy. (The slush fund or “cushion” was confirmed by Concord administration.)
The Trustees are planning to build a second, auxiliary Fire Station #2 costing about $8 million. They’ve already spent about $12 million on Fire Station #1. These are the prices and sizes of Beachwood fire stations. But we do not have Beachwood’s revenue, we are a Township. Other townships with similar call volumes and acreages built fire stations that cost half as much.
This will be the second time they are adding a “cushion,” as they did that with the last bond levy to build Fire Station #1.
In this economy, where is our cushion in our home budgets with higher inflation? It is time they stop their excessive spending and live within a budget like the residents they represent.
Concerned Concord Township Taxpayer
LFC Comments: Here is a picture of the new fire station on Route 608 across from the current Station #1….Trustees admit to spending $9.9 million…We will verify the exact amount to ensure that they are including all design, consulting, and engineering costs and not just construction costs.
Updated October 16, 2023
We received the following response from Trustee Morgan McIntosh on behalf of all three Concord Trustees.
Concord Trustees are writing to respond to comments published October 15th on the Lobbyist for Citizens regarding Issue 3 a levy to fund the Concord Township Safety Service Levy. This levy funds Concord Township Fire Department and the policing contract with the Lake County Sheriff Department.
Trustees began publicly deliberating this issue in July following the recommendation of the fiscal officer in late June to place a replacement levy on the ballot this fall. This issue was covered by local media in 7 different articles including additional to coverage on the Lobbyist for Citizens website.
During these challenging times, trustees understand the significance of the increase we are seeking. We understand the burden that inflation has been placed on our residents, including our seniors. Unfortunately, Concord Township is not immune from those same effects.
Taxes in Concord Township, are among the lowest in Lake County. Concord ranks the lowest of Lake County Townships, assuming passage of Issue 3. Additionally, relating to safety services funding, Concord Township residents pay the lowest rate of all Lake County Townships for fire and police services. Concord Township, yet has the largest population of these townships.
The current funding for the Concord Safety Services Levy has not increased in 8 years. This funding level no longer adequately supports our safety services. Over the last 8 years:
- Fire department call volume increase 36% in 8 years
- From 2013 to 2022 fire department call volume is up 46%
- Fire department calls overlap 35-40% of the time, we cannot afford staffing cuts!
- The Lake County Sheriff Department responds to over 1,000 calls per month in Concord
- From 2019 to 2021, significant crime increased 33%
The failure of this levy, will result in staffing cuts to police and fire department. Residents of Concord cannot afford cuts to the fire department staffing or law enforcement.
The fund accounting used by public entities controls how tax funds can be allocated to projects. No funds from this levy will be used for construction of fire station #2. The construction of fire station #1 did not create this shortage of funding for the Concord Safety Services Levy.
Trustees held a stakeholder meeting October 3rd to explain the need for such a significant increase. A recording of this meeting is available for viewing on the Concord Township website, as well as copies of the material presented during the meeting. Trustees will hold a second stakeholder meeting Tuesday October 24th at 7:00 pm at the Concord Community Center on Auburn Road.
Please review the recording of the Oct. 3rd stakeholder meeting, review the material, attend the October 24th stakeholder meeting or contact any Concord Trustee for a personal conversation about Issue 3.