June 28, 2016

Partly sunny

Brunswick road levy concerns discussed

BRUNSWICK — Residents were pleased to hear information offered about the city’s proposed road levy during a town hall meeting Thursday night, but some said they still don’t trust government leaders to fix roads that have fallen into disrepair.

“The transparency is better this time around,” said Basswood Oval resident Gary Curtiss, “But I still don’t know you’re going to fix my road.”

Residents were encouraged to ask questions about the 10-year, 1.2 mill levy on the Nov. 5 ballot. The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $42 per year.

City Services Director Pat McNamara spoke about the levy and answered some common questions he said he hears from residents.

Brunswick City Council is expected to pass legislation at their next meeting that would set up a separate line item for the road levy, dictating that 75 percent of the money raised be set aside for neighborhood roads in need of repairs. The levy is estimated to bring in about $800,000 annually, and $150,000 would go to each ward. The remaining $200,000 would go towardsmatching funds the city uses to get major state grants for state streets like Center and Pearl roads.

McNamara said he is often asked why cities like Strongsville are able to maintain their roads and Brunswick is asking for money. He said the Brunswick income tax rate is 1.85 percent and 75 percent of residents get a 1-percent tax credit because they work in other communities. In Strongsville, the rate is 2 percent and the city did away with their tax credit for commuters.

“You really can’t compare it to other cities,” he said. “We have a different tax base, a different population.”

McNamara and interim City Manager Carl DeForest also addressed resident concerns about passing a road levy with a 4.9- mill Brunswick Schools levy also on the ballot. DeForest said residents sometimes don’t understand that the school district doesn’t share tax revenues.

“I do understand the concern, but the schools are a totally different taxing entity,” DeForest said. “I hear all the time, ‘Why did you ask for a levy when you just built a new stadium,’ but we didn’t build the stadium, the schools did.”

In addition to the public forum, City Finance Director Todd Fischer has also created a tax levy calculator at www.brunswick.oh.us. Residents can put in their home’s property value for an exact calculation of what the levy would cost them. The city also has additional information and a Power Point presentation available on the website. After the presentation, most of the 15 residents in attendance thanked city officials for meeting with them and answering questions.

DeForest said it was important for voters to be informed about the levy before they head to the polls.

“I appreciate that you’re here, and you’re asking questions and you care about this community,” he said.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.