Letters to the Editor
July 9, 2021 by Submitted

It IS a ‘Unique Opportunity’

The title of the article was perfect on July 1, “Newbury Says Acquiring Land ‘Unique Opportunity.” It is unique! How often as taxpayers do we get the opportunity to pay twice for something? How often do we get told something from those in government positions (even local trustees or board members) one thing and then told the exact opposite later when it fits their narrative? How often are we told “we want your input” knowing this is lip service because they already know what they plan to do? OK, maybe it’s not unique.

We were told repeatedly by the Newbury school board (now, your task force) that the school was in decay and it made “no sense to put money into the structure.” Now we are told that only parts of it are bad and may need to be removed.

We were told the taxpayers could not afford a renewal levy of 1.2 mills, but now we are told we can afford upkeep of the entire property.

We were told the task force wanted community input, but when pressed about adding others to the task force to help make an impact (not just give a suggestion over a zoom call), we were told, “No.”

According to CauseIQ (tracking website), there are 96 non-profit community recreation centers in Ohio. Most of these centers do not maintain 35-plus acres of property.

I am all for a Rec Center in Newbury. I feel that there are very few, if any, community activities/events left in our little town where families can get together since our school was given away. Thankfully, we at least had a Memorial Day Parade (which was originally preemptively cancelled by a trustee) where we could see those folks in Newbury that we used to see at school events. Many of the kids are now split between several schools and they don’t get to see their former “Newbury School” friends anymore. It is sad.

I want a Rec Center. I feel 10 acres plus the small school building is a way we can do it without a major tax burden on the residents here. Unlike the task force, I have never changed my position on this.

There are opportunities here to make Newbury a fun and interactive place to live. It can be a community again, a close-knit community, provided the Marx Brothers aren’t the ones trying to back-door a deal with the West G school board and acquire a land mass we cannot afford or maintain.

I hope that in the near future we can be a close community and enjoy a piece of the property we all paid for already. Even though the school is gone, at least we could all come together in the center of town as a Newbury family once again.

Phil Paradise Jr.
Newbury Township

Poor Planning

Protect Geauga Parks (a private, nonprofit conservation organization) is deeply disheartened and distressed by the situation created by the Geauga Park District.

Park Board Commissioners are Howard Bates, Mario Innocenzi, Patrick Preston, Dennis Ibold and Bill Dieterle.  The director of the Geauga Park District is John Oros. Their  abrupt withdrawal from the fiscal services and oversight provided by Geauga County Auditor’s Office was done with poor, if any, planning. This decision was made Monday, June 28 and implemented immediately.

These problems were entirely preventable. The existing system through the Geauga County offices has been functioning extremely well and at no cost to the park district. Changing over is a complex and costly endeavor that would take many months of planning, with many system tests of new hardware and software.

These tests and practice runs should have been made prior to change to avoid computer glitches. None of this happened.

The worst of this is that the dedicated employees of the park district will suffer. On Monday, June 28, when the changeover was made there was no provision for them to receive their July 2 pay on time nor any provision for continued health care. The park district had to scramble to create an account and issue paper checks to employees. Were the employees paid the correct amounts? Were all the appropriate deductions made that would help the employees avoid tax problems down the road? No one knows and the park district is not being forthcoming in saying what they’re doing. This is incredibly shabby treatment for truly dedicated employees.

Transitioning payroll with all its deductions and complexities was never planned. This is the first of many problems that have been created and will surface.

Did the park board commissioners understand the ramifications of what they were voting on when John Oros handed them the resolutions which passed 5-0? As early as February of this year, the county auditor had listed and explained the many things that would need to happen prior to a successful transition out of the county fiscal oversight. Or, was this simply a directive from the Grendell Probate Court, which by law (ORC 1545) controls the Geauga Park District? That is not known.

We hope that the citizens of Geauga County will get those facts soon.

Trustees of Protect Geauga Parks
Dave Partington
Munson Township

Hateful

Ms. M. Duffies last week took the Mayfield CCC to task for displaying a Pride Flag. Her letter essentially equates LGBTQ+ people to “adulterers, murders(sic), robbers and blasphemers.” I’m rather surprised she left out abortion, dancing, working on Sunday, wearing mixed fabrics and smoking.

There are thousands of Christian sects, all originating because someone disagreed with someone else’s interpretation of the Bible. Ms. Duffries is welcome to her hateful version. Mayfield CCC is welcome to their loving and inclusive version.

Michael E. Maguire
Chester Township