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  ELECTION FORUM  
  Three Renewal Tax Issues On The November Ballot:   October 3, 2019 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Three issues that will be on the November ballot were presented at the Boardman Civic Association’s Candidates and Issues forum held at the Lariccia Family Community Center in Boardman Park last month.
      Speaking on behalf of a three-tenths mil Road and Bridge renewal issue for Boardman Township was Trustee Tom Costello.
      Addressing the three-tenths renewal issue for the Boardman Park District was Park Commissioner Joyce Mistovich.
      Concluding the issues portion of the forum was the executive director of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, Aimee Fifarik.
      Boardman Township Renewal
      Trustee Costello said the three-tenths mil Road and Bridge Levy was first approved by the electorate in 1976 and raises $111,600 of the Boardman Road Department’s annual $3.1 million budget.
      He said in the year 2000, the cost of resurfacing one mile of roadway in the township was about $31,000.
      “Today that cost exceeds $110,000,” Costello said, noting Boardman’s Road Department maintains 144 miles of roadway.
      Costello said the road department’s annual budget of $3.1 million, also includes equipment costs, like expenses for a street sweeper that today costs about $320,000; or a 5-ton truck used year around that costs about $200,000.
      “While our costs have risen, this levy has stayed the same,” he said.
      Costello said in 2019, Boardman Township resurfaced 5.5 miles of roadway at a cost of about $700,000, and next year plans to resurface 7 miles of roadway at a cost of about $980,000.
      “This would not be possible without the use of grant money,” Costello said, adding annual grants from the Ohio Public Works Commission funds up to 30 per cent of road resurfacing programs. We could not do this work, without those funds, without this levy.”
      Boardman Park Renewal
      Commissioner Mistovich said Boardman Park is funded by a single mill, and the three-tenths-mil renewal issue represents about 20 per cent of the park’s annual income, generating about $226,000 a year.
      “This renewal is crucial in order to keep Boardman Park viable,” Mistovich said, noting cost of the levy is two-cents a day, or only $7.37 a year per every $100,000 of home valuation.
      “Just pennies a day,” she said, exclaiming Boardman Park is the only park district in the state of Ohio that has operated on the same millage for 71 years.
      “While operating on one-mil, the size of the park has tripled…[and] with reductions in local government funding, and decreasing reimbursements from the state of Ohio, Boardman Park has lost 14 per cent of its budget, about $185,000 since 2009,” Mistovich said.
      She said Boardman Park oversees 254 acres of public land that “intercepts 14.5 million gallons of water annually.”
      “The park is a place where people and families come together…[and] is one of the most popular recreational facilities in the Mahoning Valley.
      “Boardman Park plays a vital role in maintaining our community slogan, ‘Boardman, A Nice Place to Call Home,’” Mistovich concluded.
      The Library’s 2.4-mil Renewal Levy
      The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County operated in 2018 on General Fund expenses of $24.3 million, and with 143 full-time and 52 part-time employees. Additionally, the library system showed $38.756 million in expenses from its Building ad Repair Fund.
      Executive Director Fifarik told those present at the Civic Association forum cost of the 2.4-mil renewal issue per $100,000 valuation would be $82/year.
      She said the renewal issue “is important because it funds half of the library’s regular operating budget,” and it is crucial to “keep the doors open, the lights on, and materials on the shelf.”
      There are 15 libraries operating in Mahoning County that draw close to a million people a year, Fifarik said, noting that 34 per cent of the households in the county have a library card. 70 per cent of those card-holders visit a library for computer access and internet help, she said, adding that 21 per cent of our users “are teenagers and their families.”
      The executive director pointed out that in August, 2019, upwards of 9,000 people visited the Boardman Library on Glenwood Ave.
      She said a little-known fact about the library system is that it offers job training skills and job assistance, and “we have a social worker on staff to help connect people with resources for food and shelter, or [connect] seniors with Medicare advice. For senior citizens, we provide services by mail.
      “We even have books, including downloadable e-books and audio books.”
      Fifarek said the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County has a “long history of operating debt free.”
 
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