In Liberty Township, there will be four levies on the Nov. 6 ballot; two that are renewals and two that are new. As a first by any local governing body, the administration is returning the 1.25-mill levy cost of the in-house 911 center and replacing it with a 0.45-mill levy membership fee in the county 911 system.
Also, there is a 1.25 mill levy for road maintenance generating $268,000 a year. But wait a minute, in one breath they reduce taxes by 1.25 mills and in the next breath, they propose new levies with a combined total of 1.70 mills. This amounts to, yet again, a tax increase.
"The state isn't sending us any more money," is the reason stated by the administration, so thus we need to raise taxes; seems to be Liberty's and everyone else's rallying cry. If that's the case, then what was the need for all the levies when the state was sending everyone revenue? According to the trustees, grant money for paving can only be obtained by passing this road levy. Everyone has roads that need paved, agreed. But for the size of the community and revenues coming into Boardman, this year they only paved between three and four miles of road. Liberty has 67 miles of roads, and at a paving cost of $100,000 per mile; well, you do the math.
According to a recent Warren Tribune editorial, the property taxes in Liberty Township are 39 percent higher than the next-highest community in Trumbull County, which is Bazetta Township. Impressed? You should be. This is up from a previous editorial stating an amount of 37 percent. Some taxpayers have the assumption that if the property taxes are high, that means the property values are also high. That's not so. Another Warren Tribune editorial comparing three comparable homes on three comparable streets in Liberty, Howland and Niles, the community with the highest property taxes had the lowest property values. The community with the lowest property values is Liberty Township.
People may ask themselves, ''Is there something special about the other communities in Trumbull County that Liberty is lacking?" They all have police, fire, road departments and schools like Liberty, of which they all assume to be proud of in their overall support. For all of the generous financial support piled upon the township and the school district by Liberty residents, the results are a school district that is bankrupt and a township that is broke. So much for the idea that ''throwing more money at the problem makes it right.''
So if voters think taxing themselves to be the highest in Trumbull County should equate to the roads being paved with gold, Nordstrom's Department Store is coming, the education system here is better than anywhere else, 30 police officers and they're all driving new cruisers, and a new central fire station housing a new ladder truck; then by all means, keep the faith.
A friend of mine who has been a city manager in three economically depressed cities in as many states always said to me, "Ed, taxing residents beyond their ability to pay that tax does not make a community better." On Election Day people can vote, "the sky's the limit" or vote, "I'm holding the line at 39."
-- Edward Palumbo Jr., Liberty Township