Voters will go to the polls on Tues., Aug. 2 to vote on a special 3.85-mil police levy. Boardman Trustees first voted to place the issue on the ballot in May, then withdrew the matter from the ballot in an effort to more fully inform the public about the issue.
Following meetings held at nine, different churches in Boardman, Trustees determined public input favored placing the ballot initiative back on the ballot, and they did so for the Aug. 2 special election.
If approved the levy will provide funding for 10 police officers and other personnel in the BPD including a diversion specialist, an advocate, a crime analyst, a secretary, two records clerks and two dispatchers. Additionally, related equipment will be purchased, including five police cruisers.
Passage of the levy will replace some $2.7 million in the township budget that has been lost due to cutbacks in tangible personal property taxes, the local government fund and a decline in estate taxes.
Manpower at the police department, that handles more than 32,000 calls per year, has declined from 63 officers five years ago to just 47 officers at present.
The 3.85-mil issue, if approved, will generate about $3.8 million annually and cost about $117 per every $100,000 of property valuation.
Some have attempted to dilute the campaign for the tax issue, suggesting property owners carry much of the burden.
All property owners in Boardman Township will be assessed an increase if the levy is approved, including the Southern Park Mall, valued at some $32 million, according to records of the Mahoning County Auditor.
The Simon Corp., operator of the mall, pays close to $1 million per year in property taxes.
Trustees Thomas Costello, Brad Calhoun and Larry Moliterno, Police Chief Jack Nichols, and the Coalition Against Crime, spearheaded by George Farris and Jeff Barone, have spent seven months meeting with community, church and business groups, as well as individual citizens in an attempt to inform them about township needs and crystallize support for the issue under the banner of United Against Crime.
The Board of Trustees met on Mon., July 25 in the Marie P. DeBartolo Meeting Room at the Government Center. About 55 people attended the meeting, most of whom were there to offer comments on the Aug. 2 special election.
Jim Rosa, 646 Saddlebrook Dr., was first to the podium, announcing “I’m here to support the levy...Funds are dwindling dramatically.” Rosa lauded the bargaining agreements with all six labor unions in the township that have guaranteed no pay raises for at least three more years.
“Our workforce have made great efforts to be supportive,” Mr. Rosa said.
Ed DeRose, of 7708 Amberwood Trail, opened his remarks saying “Where I come from, a city slicker goes up to a farmer standing there with a donkey and slaps the donkey.
“What did you do that for,” the farmer asks the donkey?
“I wanted to get his attention,” DeRose concluded.
DeRose offered his comparisons of Austintown and Boardman Townships, then concluded, “There’s an old saying---Politicians are like diapers, they need to be changed.”
Next up was Marilyn Sheetz, of 16 Wilda Ave.
She noted that “Citizens have a God-given right to be free...And that right is taken away from us everytime a criminal commits a crime...
“Our community should protect the police force, like they protect us...I ask all of you here tonight to join me in supporting the police levy.”
Former, longtime Boardman Local School principal and educator, Edison Lugibihl, of 7745 Hitchcock Rd., a 61-year resident of Boardman Township, said the “protection of our community is our responsibility...It is time for citizens to step up, as our citizens have done before us..”
His remarks drew a hardy round of applause.
Joe Pipoly, 317 Wildwood Dr., who said he is retired and on a pension, said he will support the police levy.
“Most people I talk to say they will vote for this issue,” Mr. Pipoly offered.
Pat Laffey, a former Boardman Township employee who was laid-off three years ago, of 512 Deer Run Dr., and who ran last in a bid for a seat of the Board of Trustees two years ago, opined “The Government Center was never good from the day they built it.”
He claimed he had been victimized by lies and would have a difficult time supporting the levy.
His remarks drew applause, solely from Mr. DeRose.
Tom Durkin, 159 Griswold Dr., said he moved to Boardman Township three years ago from the city of Youngstown and much enjoyed living in Boardman Township.
Reminding those present of ‘what has happened’ in Youngstown,’ he stated “I cannot urge you enough to vote for this levy. Boardman needs this levy.”
Mr. Durkin’s remarks also drew widespread applause, except from Mr. DeRose, who plainly displayed his middle finger in front of his scowling face.
A New England Estates resident, whose name this reporter could not hear, said “Boardman Trustees have made a commitment...We’re talking about The Great Divide, moving our way. I’m voting for this levy.”
A woman from Westport Dr. (whose name this reporter missed), indicated she was concerned for the safety of Boardman police officers and referred to slain Youngstown police officer Mike Hartzell. “Ask Mike Hartzell if you want a levy or not,” the woman said.
Pat Marsico, 8519 Glenwood Ave., showed her support for Township trustees, noting :I have never been lied to by these Trustees...There gentlemen are doing anything they can (to save money)...We have to show them support.”
Pete Ostipak, who said he resides on Windell Way, said he doesn’t trust the Board of Trustees. He wanted a timetable on pledges made by Trustees if the levy passes.
His remarks drew a response from Chairman of the Trustees, Mr. Costello, who said without additional funds, “the township’s budget will collapse.”
Mr. Barone, of 805 Park Harbour Dr., who serves as treasurer for the Coalition Against Crime, lauded the Board of Trustees for “Doing a damn good job.”
“Nothing would be more painful than if the levy loses, and we look back ten years from now and realize we resemble the city of Youngstown,” Mr. Barone said.
Dan Allen, of Montrose Circle, told those at the meeting “I love Boardman. I don’t want to see what happened in Youngstown, happen in Boardman.”
Marcie Hughes, of Garden Gate Ct., wife of a Boardman police officer, said that Boardman Trustees made a good effort in “trying to get the word out,” adding “more police officers would provide her with more assurances her husband would come home from work every night.”
Mrs. Hughes concern for officer safety also drew loud applause at the meeting.
Trustees approved a listing of nuisance properties provided by Zoning Inspector Anna Mamone, then concluded their meeting.
Following the meeting, Mr. DeRose bantied to Trustee Calhoun that he would make sure to ‘even things out’ on Tuesday morning by taking his rants onto the airwaves of WKBN talk show host Dan Rivers.
“I’m not done yet,” Mr. DeRose said.
WHERE TO VOTE AUG 2 GO TO COMMUNITY FOR LISTING: Polls Open 6:30am and Close 7:30pm.