What Liberty trustees have accomplished in the last couple of years is pretty remarkable. They erased nearly $700,000 in debt, including interest-only bank loans incurred long before current trustees Jason Rubin and Stan Nudell took office.
On top of that, they hold a rare distinction in government. They reduced taxes.
Trustees voted unanimously to rescind a 1.25-mill 911 tax, opting instead for the more efficient and safer Trumbull County emergency dispatch center.
Now trustees want to replace the 1.25-mill 911 tax with a road levy of equal value and a .45-mill 911 tax. We endorse the road levy but not the 911 tax.
The road levy is a much wiser use of money than the previous 911 tax. Residents and visitors and prospective residents and businesses use the roads daily. It's a basic service that should be a priority.
Trustees have proven their responsibility with taxpayer money. They already have a list of streets that would be repaired if the road levy passes. They already have secured grants that would be matched with the new levy.
The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $43.75 per year, a little less than the previous 911 tax since property values have decreased.
We do not look favorably upon the 911 tax because there is excess in the safety forces employee contracts that should be addressed before asking residents for more money. For example, some employees are receiving 11-percent raises over the life of their current three-year contract. This is on top of receiving large raises during the Great Recession of 2009.
Simple, reasonable adjustments to salary and benefits would free enough money to cover the county's 911 bill without a tax increase. This would require an attitudinal change. Police complaining that they would rather have less compensation and more officers is disingenuous since they simply need to nod their heads to reduce the compensation.
There is also great potential to increase township revenue. One is for trustees and Administrator Patrick Ungaro to continue their marketing success - a $10 million Comfort Inn hotel and banquet center announced last week is their latest accomplishment - to maximize the township's bed tax. Another is to lease mineral rights on township property.
The 911 tax would cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $15.75 annually.