Twinsburg voters pass Issue 24
TWINSBURG – The majority of voters in the city of Twinsburg voted to support Issue 24, a ballot initiative that will lower the millage the city can approve without going to voters.
According to the final but unofficial figures from the Summit County Board of Elections, nearly 53% of the votes, or 2,745 votes, were for Issue 24, and about 47%, or 2,465 votes were cast against the issue.
Issue 24 amends the city’s charter to reduce the millage City Council can approve from the current 7 mills to 2 mills.
Sue Clark, who headed up the ballot initiative, said that the passage of Issue 24 would give Twinsburg voters more of a voice.
"I'd like to thank the residents who voted for Issue 24," Clark said. "But this is a small victory because right now the city is very divided, and I hope now we can come together. I hope the administration will listen to the residents, and we can all work to build a better community."
Clark said that she hopes that whatever the city came up with would have the least impact on seniors and those out of work. While taking down signs, she said she had the chance to talk to many residents.
"I’ve talked to people who have been out of work since March, and they can’t afford this," Clark said.
Mayor Ted Yates, who had spoken against the issue, said the passage of the initiative “will impact our total operations, both essential services and amenities.”
“It was a difficult day and I do understand both sides of the issue,” Yates said. “We have limited tools to work with when it comes to generating funds for our essential operations, and this issue removed a vital source of revenue that is relied upon by most municipalities. Unfortunately, the passing of this issue will eliminate the approximate $2 million worth of funding that was allocated to police and fire pensions and safety force capital.”
Yates said that the city has “been in contact with the auditor to take our tax budget back down to the .6 of a mill, which is the minimum required by statute.”
“We will preserve the remaining 1.4 mills to help stabilize our financial profile and future bond ratings,” Yates said. “This issue has placed the city in a challenging financial position. The dedicated funds to police and fire will be now come from a General Fund subsidy. This will impact our total operations, both essential services and amenities.”
Yates said that he would work with City Council on how to handle the anticipated revenue loss.
“We are a resilient city, and have overcome issues bigger than this,” Yates said.
City Council had approved a phased-in 4.9-mill property tax levy increase in July; however, Council later repealed the full increase, leaving the first 2.4 mill increase in place at its Oct. 13 meeting. With the 0.6 mills of charter millage, the total inside millage would be 3 mills – one mill more than Issue 24 would allow.
Issue 24 was the result of a citizen petition led by Sue Clark who, with other volunteers, collected 1,065 signatures to get the charter amendment on the ballot. The effort needed 830 valid signatures. The charter change proposal was spurred by City Council’s approval of a charter millage increase this summer.
Reporter April Helms can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org