September 1, 2014

Medina
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Brunswick once again to seek funds for roads

BRUNSWICK — City officials plan to ask voters a fourth time for money to fix roads.

City Council is expected to vote Jan. 27 to put the issue before voters on the May 6 ballot.

According to the Medina County Auditor’s Office, the 1.2-mill, 10-year proposed levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $42 a year.

Voters shot down a similar levy in November that would have generated more than $830,000 annually.

Kovack said because property values fell as a result of the state-mandated, six-year property reappraisal in 2013, this same levy would generate a little more than $780,000 per year.

That amount is still more than triple the $245,000 the city gets from licensing fees to put toward road repairs. Officials have said those funds just aren’t enough.

Service Director Pat McNamara has said the city’s salt costs alone are between $250,000 and $270,000 annually.

“That’s alarming when you consider we’re spending more money on the product that makes the roads deteriorate than the roads themselves,” he said in November.

McNamara said the funding only allows the city to repair the worst streets and the rest is put toward matching funds for state and federal grant dollars for major road repair projects.

Councilman Anthony Capretta, 4th Ward, who voted against the last levy, said his decision about the proposed levy will come down to the residents’ wishes.

“The roads are terrible. It’s the first thing people see when they come to our city, and it gives a bad impression because they’re in terrible, terrible shape,” he said. “There’s no question about that.”

Capretta said he voted against recent levies because residents in his ward said they were opposed because the issues did not guarantee all the money would go to the roads or that all wards would receive money.

In 2011, the city asked for a 2.7-mill permanent levy. In 2012, it asked for the same amount, but cut the term to
20 years. That measure lost by 20 percent.

More than 6,800 residents voted on the November levy last year, but the measure was defeated by 189 votes.

The new proposal would put all revenue from the levy toward roads, split evenly among the city’s four wards.

“I have to go back out and talk to residents to see if it’s what they want,” Capretta said. “Every one is going to get money. I think they will accept that, because they’ve never had that before. If they’re in favor of it, I’ll vote for it. If not, I won’t.”

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.