July 24, 2016

Partly cloudy

Brunswick is one step closer to road levy

BRUNSWICK — City residents are a step closer to voting on a citywide road levy.

City Council completed the first reading of legislation Monday that aims to put a continuous 2.7-mill levy on the fall ballot. Council also decided against using a marketing firm to gauge the willingness of residents to vote for such a levy and to promote it to the community.

If approved, Finance Director Todd Fischer said the levy would cost homeowners about $127 a year per $150,000 of appraised value.

The Medina County Auditor’s Office will give the official word on how much money the levy would bring in, but Fischer said he is estimating it would net $1.8 million to $1.9 million per year.

City Manager Jim Lukas said the 2.7 mills was his second choice. He said a continuous 3.5-mill levy that would taper off to 2 mills after 10 years was preferred, but the law department informed him that was not doable.

Law Director Ken Fisher said ballot language could not “bind” a future administration to a different levy amount.

The city’s road maintenance budget is about $232,000 per year, which city officials have said is not enough to address deteriorating road conditions.

Lukas said the 2.7 mills was not as aggressive as he would have liked, but added that “over time, we will be able to address our needs.”

Council will read through the legislation twice more before an official vote, which Fisher said gives the public time to express opinions about the levy to Council.

“We obviously want to do this with as much transparency as possible,” Fisher said.

During Monday’s Committee-of-the-Whole meeting before the regular Council meeting, members decided against using either of the marketing firms that gave presentations presented during previous meetings.

Lukas said the estimated cost of using the firms was between $24,000 and $27,000, and it was an expense the city could not afford.

He recommended Council not use Impact Group or Burges & Burges, the firms Council had considered.

Lukas said he believed people would vote for the levy based on their own financial situation, whether they see a need and whether they trust their government.

Ward 3 Councilman Joe Delsanter said he thought the cost was “far too much to justify.”

Ward 4 Councilwoman Lisa Zamiska said she received feedback from residents who were against the use of a marketing company and said she agrees.

“I think the roads speak for themselves,” Zamiska said.

Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or jpignolet@medina-gazette.com.