Should We Add 2 Citizens to the Lake County Budget Commission?

By Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall

Why should we add 2 citizens to the Lake County Budget Commission?

Ohio Revised Code Section 5705.27 “County Budget Commission”
allows the voters to authorize two citizens to be added to the Commission.

We need 2,836 Lake County registered voters (Democrat or Republican) to sign our
petitions, and the petitions must be submitted to the Board of Elections by August 7th at 4:00 pm. We are assembling a group of volunteers to collect the signatures.

This petition only authorizes the addition of 2 new members to the board. The names of citizens to be elected for the positions will be handled by separate petitions, at a later date, when we have clarification from the Ohio Secretary of State on when the names can be placed on the ballot.

Lake County will be the first county in Ohio to add two members to their Budget
Commission. Lake County Auditor Chris Galloway asked me to lead the citizens’
initiative.

The Budget Commission is meant to be the “watchdog” for the taxpayers ensuring that the taxing authorities have the right to the tax levies funding their operation and also ensuring that excess taxation is not taking place. Currently, the Budget Commission is a “rubber stamp” and is not challenging the taxing authorities on their excessive reserve that they have accumulated. In addition, we are going to need the State legislators to do their job and clarify the role and responsibilities of the CBC since the current Revised Code’s language is inadequate.

Section 5705.29 of the ORC deals with the maximum contingency reserves that are permitted.

When a homeowner challenges the Board of Revision about their property values, there is a lawyer for the school boards that is challenging each request to lower the home values. Lower home values mean less revenue for the public schools.

We believe that the taxpayers should be represented on the Budget Commission so that the public schools and the other taxing authorities should be challenged about their excessive reserves. For example, Deepwood has $65 million in reserve, Lake
Metroparks has $30 million in reserve and the Crime Lab has $7 million in reserve and adds $1.6 million each year to the reserves.

If we stay on the current path of ever-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.

Any tax that, if unpaid, causes a citizen to become homeless is immoral.

Brian Massie
A Watchman on the Wall
Lobbyists for Citizens
stoppropertytaxes@gmail.com
(440) 479-7061

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Categories: Lake County - General

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