Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letters to Editor
April 18, 2014 by Staff Report | 1 Comment

Hoarding Money

There are a few things I think the voters need to know before they go to the polls in May and vote to keep our current auditor or select a new one.

I think it’s time for a fresh perspective and for the next generation to start taking the reins of our fair county.

Our current auditor is telling you he’s won several awards and he’s fit for the job since he’s experienced. Experience is in the eye of the beholder.

You may have also heard or seen his opponent is saying he’s hoarding reappraisal money that should have been returned to the political subdivisions after the 2011 reappraisal. The latter is absolutely the truth and there’s the Ohio Revised Code to prove it.

As far as financial reporting awards go, those awards are based on the purchase of auditing services by the State Auditor’s Office to the tune of $20,000 or more of our taxpayer dollars for a report that almost no one reads anymore. Anyone can put in a public records request to verify my statement.

Under Auditor Jemison the work required for those financial reporting awards was performed in-house and had very minimal cost. The work within the auditor’s office that leads to the financial reporting awards are the fruits of the auditor’s staff and not necessarily the auditor.

During my 10 years at the Geauga County Auditor’s Office, I worked with Bridey Matheney and I can tell you that she has the integrity, drive, knowledge and the right work ethic to get the job done in a professional manner. Mrs. Matheney’s law background will be of great benefit to our county as the laws the auditor’s office has to enforce have been constantly changing and in need of interpretation.

Please join me in supporting Bridey Matheney for our Geauga County Auditor.

Scott Yamamoto
Chardon

Just Plain Wrong

$1.2 million, $1.585 million, $1.606 million and $1.696 million. These amounts are the balances in the current Geauga County Auditor’s Real Estate Assessment Fund (REAF) for years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Geauga County taxpayer dollars are collected and transferred into the REAF to help pay for the revaluation of all property in Geauga County. The property revaluation is conducted every six years by the Geauga County Auditor as required by Ohio law.

After the six-year property revaluation, if money remains in the REAF, Ohio law requires the money to be returned proportionately to the political subdivisions such as townships, villages, school districts, libraries, parks and other county agencies in Geauga County.

The last property revaluation was completed in 2011 by the current Geauga County Auditor, Frank Gliha. However, three years later, while your local township or village and schools struggle to make ends meet, no moneys have been distributed or returned by Mr. Gliha to any of the political subdivisions of Geauga County.

Unlike the previous Geauga County Auditor, Tracy Jemison, who promptly returned the moneys in the REAF after the 2005 six year property revaluation, Mr. Gliha has been sitting on between $1.2 million and $1.696 million he is required by law to return proportionally to schools and political subdivisions after the 2011 property revaluation.

In today’s fiscal climate where local governments are repeatedly asked to do more with less resources and school districts are in financial emergency and schools consider consolidation, failing to give these moneys back is just plain wrong.

For example, the budget for combating the rising epidemic of heroin abuse in Geauga County is approximately $500,000. Looking at the current $1.696 million stockpiled by Mr. Gliha, the budget to combat heroin abuse could have been funded for at least three years.

Hoarding your tax dollars over the past three years shows Mr. Gliha’s indifference to the plight of our communities and the taxpayers of this County during what has been one of the hardest economic times in decades.

The closing of Ledgemont High School only serves to underscore the magnitude and impact of Mr. Gliha’s failure and indifference. The people of Geauga County deserve to know why Mr. Gliha hoarded their hard-earned taxpayer dollars instead of returning the money to help the taxpayers of this county.

It will be interesting to see if Mr. Gliha suddenly announces that he is returning these funds now that he has an opponent, Mary Brigid “Bridey” Matheney, in the May 6 Republican Primary.

Tim Lennon
Newbury

Beloved Institution

It is hard to be objective about a beloved community institution that we have used, enjoyed and respected over 70 years and three family generations.

Yet, we think that the Burton Public Library’s record of service and cost effectiveness speaks volumes for itself. For over 100 years, the library has been there to serve the Burton, now the Berkshire, school district community, with books, other media and internet-based training and access.

It has been blessed and honored by strong community support throughout its history, to say nothing of far-sighted directors, dedicated board members and loyal and competent staff.

We think that tax dollars are well and carefully spent at the Burton Public Library. We urge every Berkshire resident, including those in the Amish community who receive personalized library book collections at home, to support the library’s levy request at the May 6 election.

Jacqueline and Frank Samuel
Burton

 

Not a Puppet

As an observer of Geauga affairs, I know our county faces crises demanding a commissioner with passion, commitment and foresight. Throw in hard logic and the ability to be truthful in critical situations.

Commissioner Samide has permitted dangerous issues to fester. She has approved of conservation easements for selective property owners. Conservation easements remove large parcels of property from the tax base, forcing remaining property owners to pay more than their fair share of property taxes. To whom is Samide catering?

Moreover, Samide is the figure-head president of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), a regional planning agency encompassing Geauga, Lake, Lorain, and Medina counties. Because NOACA’s membership is dominated by the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Geauga County does not benefit.

NOACA’s stated purpose is to return federal monies for highway projects across the Northeast Ohio region, including $542,000 of taxpayer funds for installation of non-conventional transportation in the City of Chardon. Nevertheless, roads heavily traveled by Geauga’s Amish are in such dire disrepair that both horses and humans have perished without any offer of financial assistance from NOACA.

At NOACA meetings I have never heard NOACA “President” Samide utter even one whisper of support for Geauga County needs over those of urban Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. Although she claims that Geauga County has received $30 million from NOACA in the last ten years, she neglects to communicate that, according to ODOT documentation,  Geauga County has paid $100 million in federal gasoline taxes over the same period to support NOACA. Samide would rather be a figure-head president with no voice at the 44-member NOACA table than speak up for Geauga County residents. She has sold Geauga County out.

The passion, dedication and courage of Walter “Skip” Claypool is a ray of hope for Geauga County. Skip served as commissioner when former Commissioner Bill Young retired in 2012.

I laud his logic, clear-headedness, intelligence and diligence. I praise him for the courage to make  the difficult decisions that other commissioners have avoided the last 10 years. These are times that threaten to undermine the purses and the property rights of Geauga taxpayers.

Skip is not afraid to face the problems of a selectively-reduced tax base and NOACA head-on. Best of all, when he looks me or you directly in the eye, he is truthful. What he says is what he will do. He will not be a puppet to be manipulated.

Skip genuinely cares about the rights of Geauga taxpayers and the legacies that are due their children and grandchildren. Skip will not sell Geauga out. On May 6 your vote for Walter “Skip” Claypool as commissioner will finally help Geauga taxpayers to take their county back.

Diane J. Jones
Auburn 

Uphold Newbury’s Values

I have often heard that a community is judged by the way it cares for its children, for we all know that our children are the key to our future.

Thankfully, in this area Newbury is no slacker. We have a recreation program that, combined with our schools, provides athletic activities ranging from soccer to skiing to softball and more.

Our 4-H participants exhibit their award-winning animals all raised and nurtured in Newbury.

We have programs in both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for those who are interested for as long as they are interested.

Our library station is willing to share school time and space on Thursday mornings to allow story time for our preschoolers.

Spiritual needs are encouraged in both our many Sunday schools and in our after-school church  programs.

Even when our schools are closed in the summer, and throughout the school year, those students eligible receive a nutritious breakfast and lunch.

Playgrounds stay open and available for supervised students.

Local businesses support the many students honored for their excellence.

Our Kiwanis Club annually sponsors an Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast with Santa, as well as providing scholarships and stipends for numerous students.
It is unthinkable that a community that demonstrates this support for its children would not want to educate them as well.

We are not in competition with those in other townships nor are we looking at children throughout the state of Ohio. We are speaking of Newbury’s children here: those who ride their bikes past our homes, who sell candy bars in our neighborhoods, who play ball in our fields. They are not only our children and our grandchildren now, but the children and grandchildren we nurtured as the entire community supported them through past years in the Newbury schools.

It is for Newbury’s present students and those from past and future generations that we must support Issue 5 on May 6. I believe Newbury’s values must be upheld. Join me in supporting Issue 5.

Sue G. Nelson
Newbury

Lost Sight of Mission

In my opinion, Rescue Village has lost sight of one very important mission: no more unwanted homeless animals.

Their zeal is to be a state of the art facility by using $3 million to expand a building in which they estimate might save an additional 400 animals.

In lieu of the current $35 to $80 charges, low/free/donation public availability to spay/neuter surgeries would save thousands of lives of unwanted animals from being born. How many surgeries could be performed just by using the funds earmarked for building two separate puppy and kitten adoption areas?

Potential adopters surely wouldn’t find important fancy rooms. Stop “the cycle from starting over” now, before animals reproduce.

Secondly, if Rescue Village has such an abundance that requires building additional basement storage, would not it be common sense to donate it to a less fortunate rescue facility who could use it? An abundance of food could be donated to families in dire straits desperately wanting to keep their companions.

Rescue Village speaks of seizures due to a weaker economy and aging population. I add young families, students, John Doe to go to work every day people trying to keep their heads above water and their companion animals.

Rescue Village seeks $600,000 from the public who would greater benefit from a mobile spay/neuter vehicle, increasing availability to surgeries decreases pet overpopulation. How can they justify expanding one facility available only to the local community and those with means to travel to it? Huntsburg, located in the southeast corner of Geauga County, for example, would be a 50-mile round trip for assistance in Russel.

In closing, with a pledging of $2.4 million, I have read nothing about any vital importance in offering classroom education in animal welfare, kindness and care. Has the idea of expanding the staff of neflect/cruelty officers come into the plans? Puppy mill investigation?

As Rescue Village seeks public donations to expand their building, they would do well to use common sense and address the public’s needs in decreasing pet overpopulation and seizures of the wanted animal companions in families who need a bit of help.

Gail Conley
Windsor

Return Joyce to Congress

I often only glance at some of the letters that appear here and then move on because many of them ramble … and ramble … and ramble.

I want to make a short and terse comment on the coming Republican primary. I could also ramble on about how Congressman Dave Joyce returns a large portion of his salary to the district or how he has voted against the more flagrant issues of Obamacare.

I could even point out how he consistently votes to cut the fat on many budgetary issues.

However, just to make it short and sweet. I’m voting for Congressman Joyce because he puts his district ahead of the party. His title is representative and that’s what he does: He represents us because he is one of us.

Dave is not a big city politician out of that corrupt machine that has been running Cuyahoga County nor is he one of those opportunity-seekers who jumps into whatever race is available.

Return Dave Joyce to Congress. It’s a close as you’ll ever get to casting your own vote on the vital issues that effect you. You only get one turn in the voting booth, so make it count for you.

Tom Beers
Chardon

Article Comments

One Response

  1. dkotapish says:

    Once again, Frank is making up his own rules as I witnessed many times for years. The REAF funds are obligated to be returned to the political subdivisions per Ohio Revised Code. No other Auditor in history has not followed through on this fiduciary duty yet managed to do the sexennial reappraisal every time. Sounds like he may be padding the operating expenses of his office as “reappraisal” related. Ask to see the billing records that splits GIS or other workers’ time into “reappraisal hrs” vs. “regular hrs” which would be necessary to document the billing of REAF. These records do not exist. You be the judge.

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