Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Letters to Editor
October 24, 2013 by John Karlovec | No Comments

Fiscally Conservative Leader Linda OBrien is a candidate for Russell Township Trustee. In the past 10 years, I have known and worked with Linda on…

Fiscally Conservative Leader

Linda OBrien is a candidate for Russell Township Trustee. In the past 10 years, I have known and worked with Linda on issues affecting the preservation of the unique lifestyle Geauga County residents cherish and hold dear.

As a 22-year resident of Russell Township who passionately enjoys the benefits of living in the country with her horses, protecting and maintaining that lifestyle for her family and for future generations is a critical concern for Linda.

She is aware of the adverse effects big government has upon communities and is dedicated to keeping Columbus and Washington bureaucrats out of the business of Russell Township.

As the owner of her own business and as a consultant for Fortune 100 companies, private equity investments and the U.S. Department of Defense, she brings to any issue her experience as a no-nonsense, fiscally conservative leader. She is determined to halt what have been continual property tax increases by implementing best business practices.

Linda OBrien is educationally well prepared for office, having earned a B.S. in Psychology from Ursuline College and an M.S. in Organizational Development and Analysis from Case Western Reserve University. She has served as a trustee of Red Raider Trails, a board member of Geauga Humane Society and an officer of Progressive Insurance.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Russell Township voters should vote for Linda OBrien, an experienced leader who believes in business sense not political nonsense.

Denver Sallee

Russell Township

A Man We Can Trust

It is an honor and a privilege to write this recommendation for Jim McCaskey. He is a candidate for the Board of Trustees of Munson Township.

I have known Jim for over 35 years and am confident in saying he is one of the most competent professionals I have had the opportunity to meet. Jim epitomizes the best in business and public service, and is truly a professional.

My first opportunity to get to know Jim very closely was as his principal at Chardon High School. Even then, I could see his potential. During those years I observed him work well with his classmates, often taking a direct leadership role. His contributions were beyond the normal expectations for the typical high school student and Jims classmates often looked to him as a role model. More often than not, Jim would volunteer and choose difficult assignments.

Through college and beyond, I watched him mature to become the leader he is today.

Jim gives. He gives of himself, he give of his resources and, above all, he gives of his heart. Countless are the times he has contributed to make Munson Township a better place.

I find it uniquely significant that Jim has chosen TRUSTee on his campaign signs. Jim is a man we can all TRUST. We can TRUST him to be fair and honest. We can TRUST him to be fiscally responsible. We can TRUST him to listen to us and represent us as we should expect.

I urge you, bring that TRUST to the office he seeks TRUSTee of Munson Township. Jim McCaskey will represent us well.

Dr. Bob Faehnle

Munson Township

Back to The Future

Many of you old timers (and not so old timers) likely remember the time when as property values increased, property taxes also increased a proportional amount.

It became a serious problem as farmers and less affluent folks living near the edge of an expanding suburbia were forced to sell their property because they could no long afford the property tax. As a solution, the Ohio General Assembly passed and the governor signed H.B. 920 years ago which provided a partial rollback of taxes as property valuations increased.

Some of the tax was not rolled back and that is what is referred to as inside millage. The schools, counties and townships receive some of their property tax as inside millage, which increases their revenue as the years pass.

Most residents don’t know it, but in the budget bill (H.B. 95) passed and signed into law late this summer that old solution to skyrocketing property taxes was thrown out the window. The bill lowers income taxes a bit which is a huge gift to the 1 percent super rich that stuff green stuff in the legislators campaign coffers. However, to make up for that loss of income to the state, we average folk will likely be the ones to have it stuck to us.

Here’s the facts folks. Any new property tax levies or replacement levies passed now will no longer be subject to the rollback. The change is particularly insidious regarding the replacement levy, as what a replacement levy does when passed is cancel all past rollbacks for that levy. So, if a levy has been around for a long time and has had many rollbacks over the years, all of those rollbacks are cancelled. The tax on that levy could immediately go up 400 percent … 500 percent or more.

In addition, as I mentioned, as property values escalate in the future no rollbacks would apply to that levy even if it is put on the ballot in the future as a renewal. The situation will be particularly confusing to voters in the future, as there could be several renewal levies on the ballot and the voters would not know which ones would be subject to rollbacks and which would not.

A system designed to fool the voters?

It’s been some time now since the Ohio Supreme Court has declared the way Ohio pays for schools is unconstitutional. Yet, the Ohio General Assembly has done nothing to correct the matter. This new budget bill, if anything, will make it more unconstitutional, as it will likely lead to more state cuts to schools and more reliance on property tax.

Maybe the solution for us instead of passing replacement levies is to replace those folks in Columbus who connived this arrangement.

Oh, by the way, if you care to let your state senator and representative know what you think, Sen. Eklund voted for the budget bill and Rep. Lynch voted against the bill.

John G. Augustine

Parkman Township

Ripping the County

In a recent newspaper article, the Geauga County health commissioner was quoted saying, I dont want the county to be ripped. The fact is, he is the one ripping the county.

Based on public records available from the county auditor, the health commissioner is the second highest paid employee in the entire county. At $117,000 plus, he makes more than the county prosecutor, the auditor, the treasurer, the county administrator, the park district director, the county engineer, the department on aging director, the sheriff and nearly anyone else you can name thats a county employee.

He certainly doesnt work harder or put in more hours than all these other department heads.

He oversees fewer employees than most of the other departments Ive listed.

He claims that he holds three or four positions, but that is in title only. No one person could physically do the work of three full-time people.

The Board of Health needs to reconsider the 5 percent raises they continue to give him.

Please vote no on the two health district levies on the November ballot.

Donna Jean Vaccariello

Chardon Township

Editors Note: Health Commissioner Robert Weisdack is not the second highest paid employee in Geauga County, according to the current wage figures provided by the Geauga County Auditors Office. He is the third highest paid employee at $111,463.43. Weisdack also declined to accept board-approved raises for 2008, 2009 and 2010. He serves as the county health commissioner and environmental health director, and is a registered field sanitarian. Weisdack further is the degreed epidemiologist for the department.

Setting the Record Straight

After reading the Woman League of Voters Voters Guide, I felt the need to set the record straight. Lu Ann Burger, candidate for trustee, commented concerning the part-time paid staffing of the Montville Fire Department.

Mrs. Burger is correct:?The staffing cost is being taken out of the current budget. That is the only point that was correct.

Years prior to this, the idea of part-time paid staffing had been discussed. The Board of Trustees and fire de-partment had numerous work sessions to do research, contact the prosecutors office for correct ways to go about the process and to go over the budget with a fine tooth comb. Mrs. Burger sat in on these sessions.

In the voters guide, Mrs. Burger stated that staffing has limited other expenses of the department. This could not be farther from the truth. At the August budget hearing, the county treasurer informed me that the extra money the department has been saving for equipment needs to be earmarked for something specific or possibly run the risk of losing it.

The board has contended from day one that part-time paid staffing needs to be done without any increase in levies. This was to be a trial run with the residents having the final say if it remains. The boards intention was published in the township newspaper.

The following is a portion of a statement that is contained in every fire levy that is put on the ballot: for the purposes of providing and maintaining fire apparatus, appliances, buildings, or sites therefore, or sources of water supply and materials therefore or the establishment and maintenance of lines of fire alarm telegraph, or the payment of permanent, part-time, or volunteer fire fighters or fire fighting companies to operate the same.

Mrs. Burger also stated the township will most likely ask for a larger fire levy to cover the cost. A comment probably shouldnt be made if it is only a most likely. The township doesnt have to determine how to fund the staffing. If after the trial period staffing remains, it will be funded by the current budget.

Sarah McDonald, Fiscal Officer

Montville Township

Turning Point

I was born and raised in Chardon and educated in a school system that was, at the time, excellent.

When my husband and I had our second child, we bought a home in Chardon. As I told my husband, Chardon is a great place to raise a family.

With the crisis the school system currently faces, I fear that may no longer be true. We now have a school system that is far from excellent. In fact, it is struggling to be adequate at this point. This saddens me.

This election will be a turning point for my family and other young families. We may be forced to move out of our community for the sake of our children’s education … the very reason we bought here in the first place.

Failing schools begin a chain reaction within a community. I, for one, would hate to see this happen in my beloved hometown. Whether you have children in the school system or not, I urge you to consider the long-term effect this levy will have on all of us and our town.

If you disagree with how money is currently allocated in the schools, go to the school board meetings, talk to a board member or write a letter. Please don’t take it out on the students at the polls. Let’s come together and support the next generation of Hilltoppers.

Gabrielle Royle Boose

Munson Township

Service Above Self

When people head to the polls to vote for their elected officials, I often wonder if they vote for the individual with the same party affiliation or the person they “like” the most.

Voting is a privilege that I fear many do not take seriously. It is critical to seek out those political servants who are trustworthy, have the ability to discern difficult situations and make the best decisions for their constituents, no matter how much pressure or how difficult the decision.

Munson Township has the oppor-tunity to vote for this servant leader on Nov. 5 by electing Jim McCaskey as their trustee.

I have had the opportunity to work with Jim McCaskey on a variety of community projects and most recently on the board of directors for the Chardon Rotary Club. Jim McCaskey has proven his ability and willingness to ask the hard questions, make the decisions that are not always easy and do what is right for the club and those we serve.

I have no doubt that Jim McCaskey will do an outstanding job serving the people of Munson Township, as he is a shining example of our Rotary motto, “SERVICE ABOVE SELF.”

When the good people of Munson Township go to the polls on Nov. 5, I hope they vote for the candidate that is ready to serve, Jim McCaskey!

Kimm Leininger

Charon Township

Editors Note: Leininger is current president of the Chardon Rotary Club.

Caring and Giving

There are two words that come to mind when I consider Jim McCaskey: caring and giving.

Having lived next to Jim and his family for over 19 years, Ive seen firsthand how he cares about people family, friends, neighbors and generally everyone he meets. He is always willing to give to them a helping hand, advice to solve a problem or just some good conversation.

Ive observed how hes run his own successful business with integrity, making sure the work is done well, taking care of the environment and meeting the needs of his customers.

Jim has lived in the Munson area his entire life and has invested himself in numerous organizations and volunteer leadership roles. Hes often shared with me his ideas for how to make our community a better place to live.

All this to say Im glad Jim McCaskey is my neighbor and he has my vote for Munson Township Trustee.

Tim Ferris

Munson Township

Choose Excellence

Vote Yes for Chardon students in November.

The levy is urgently needed, the stakes are high and the high quality of public education in Chardon Schools is in jeopardy of this levy fails.

Chardon Schools ranks high compared to many public school systems that have a much greater level of spending and income; we have had a consistent ranking of Excellent from the State of Ohio. Chardon Schools has never fallen below a ranking of Excellent. Chardon has been rated excellent with 90- and 75-year-old buildings.

Consider the big picture; do not vote on one smaller aspect of Chardon Schools that you may consider questionable. Consider the greater good; the future of Chardons children is one very crucial aspect of the social contract we all pledge to the future.

As an educator working through the Geauga County Educational Service Center assigned to Chardon since 1994, I have observed every department in Chardon Schools tightening its belt. Chardon Schools cannot maintain its current level of performance without the sustenance of your support and involvement. Crucial positions go unfilled in maintenance, custodial, transportation, teaching positions, office positions and administration.

Your decision to vote Yes will be a choice for Excellence.

Sheldon Firem

School Psychologist

Chardon Schools

Making Munson Better

As Realtors for a long time now, my mother and I like to think we’ve done a lot for people moving around and into the area.

But no one has done as much as my brother Jim.

Since he got his driver’s license, strapped a winch to his Jeep and started pulling neighbors out of snow banks, Jim has been helping make Munson and all of Geauga a better place to live, go to school, raise a family, work in or retire.

Some past and present organizations that Jim has contibuted his energies and leadership skills to include: Munson baseball commissioner and coach, Maple Festival Committee, Geauga County Fair Board director, Chardon Rotary board, Chardon Rotary president-elect, Kent State University Advisory Board, Middlefield Bank Board of Directors, Meals on Wheels, St. Mary Booster President and coach, Ohio Landscape Association president and Auburn Career Center Advisory Board.

So why never Munson Township trustee? Because Jim is never as comfortable running against someone as he is running alongside them. One of our late Father’s gifts to Jim was convincing him that political office is where one can do the most for his or her community.

Therefore, Jim is running for Munson trustee and I feel my brother’s past experiences and personal attributes make him the ideal candidate.

Please vote for Jim, I will.

Dan McCaskey, Realtor

Munson Township

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