ISSUE 1: STATE BOND PROGRAM
There’s only one statewide issue on Tuesday’s ballot, but Issue 1 is an important one.
Voters must decide whether to renew a bond program that has been in place since 1987, and renewed by voters in 1995 and 2005.
It would provide $1.9 billion in new borrowing over 10 years and help pay the bills for roads, bridges, solid waste disposal, storm water, and sanitary sewage collection, storage, and treatment.
While passage would increase the state’s long-term debt, Issue 1 does not increase taxes because the funds to repay project bonds are already built into the state budget.
The benefits to city, township and county governments would be many. By funding infrastructure through state bonds, less pressure is put on other governments to impose taxes.
All 88 counties have benefited from more than 11,500 grants for projects over the past 27 years. If approved, many more projects will get done, and an estimated 35,000 jobs will be created.
Issue 1 represents the nuts and bolts of government. Voters should support it.
ISSUE 5: FINDLAY CITY SCHOOLS
The Findlay City School District’s 5.9-mill levy was last approved by voters in 2009 and went into effect in 2010.
Each year since, it has generated about $4.8 million for teacher salaries and benefits, textbooks, equipment and supplies, utilities, transportation and maintenance.
The issue is on the ballot as a continuous levy, not as a 5-year measure.
School officials say approving the renewal indefinitely will allow them to plan better and eliminate the need to keep returning to the ballot for routine operating money.
Long-term financial planning has never been more important for the district. State funding has been inconsistent in recent years and the intangible personal property tax is being phased out.
Unfunded state and federal mandates also make school funding challenging.
The district has made tough decisions when it had to several years ago to balance the budget and, in doing so, it has earned the community’s trust. Its annual audits regularly exceed state requirements.
The 5.9-mill levy remains an important part of the funding puzzle, and a big reason for the district’s sound financial health. Renewal would provide added security to a district that is working hard to keep its schools, staff and students moving forward.
For those reasons, we urge voters to support the levy.
ISSUE 10: BLANCHARD VALLEY CENTER
A five-year, 2.5-mill levy, one of two Blanchard Valley Center’s operating levies, is up for renewal. The community should continue to support the many good things the center is doing by passing it.
Enrollment at the center, which is a critical lifeline to over 500 individuals and their families, has increased by one-third over the past five years. Superintendent Connie Ament said it’s not just serving more individuals, but individuals with more intense needs, such as autism, and those with developmental delays and mental illness.
The center makes do with levies, 51 percent of revenue; federal funding, 42 percent; and community support. It has managed to keep up by securing more federal funding and by reducing salary expenses by 16 percent from 2008 to 2012.
Hancock County’s disabled have become much more visible throughout the community in recent years. Adults participate in work-training programs offered through Blanchard Valley Industries or a variety of private providers. Many are now employed at businesses or work in-house in BVI’s document management business.
The opportunities have grown for those with disabilities since the 1960s, but the challenges remain. More, not less, are expected to need the center’s services in the future.
The center does well managing its resources. We urge voters to continue to provide financial support to the center.