Now that the residents of Barberton get to voice their decision for a new property tax levy, I feel it is important to understand what is happening, why and how it is happening and what you can do to make sure you are heard.
On July 27, 2020, the Barberton City Council approved that language that would be placed on the upcoming Novembers ballot. This is a HUGE step for the people of this town because finally, we get to voice our opinion instead of politicians deciding for us. If there was ever a great thing about this property tax levy, it is that the Government MUST listen to you.
I am disappointed to say that during the City Council, the Barberton City Charter was suspended. With “NO” votes from Councilwoman Debevec, Councilman Jaber, and myself, the governing constitution was once again disregarded. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for suspension. Paying bills, kick-starting road projects, getting our safety forces equipment and support, etc are worthy of possibility.
City Council then voted to let the residents decided instead of City Council or the politicians. The measure was met with two “NO” votes from my colleagues Councilwoman Debevec and Councilman Jaber. Both stated that they do not believe it is needed. I myself, do not feel a levy is needed either. Our City Budget does not suggest we are in need and it was just passed a handful of months ago. Council was not provided with services that would be lost or cut. With the lack of information, I will defer to the people of the City of Barberton.
I did vote “YES”. I voted yes so that the voters can decide. I do not feel it is right for City Council to act as rulers of the people rather than representatives we were elected to be. Anytime a voter gets to choose, their choice overrides any feelings I have towards a subject. It should never be about personal feelings but ALWAYS about people being able to take back control given the opportunity.
Why it Happened
According to Mayor Judge, the City of Barberton has fallen short about $1.3 million dollars due to companies leaving town. The pandemic has also played havoc on the system and created an unknown for the financial future. According to the administration, they are operating at “bare bones” and can not cut any more services without severely cutting safety forces and other unknown services. I say “unknown services” because to date, I have not heard what services may be cut or lost other and “Fire and Police”.
Over the years, cities have been losing funding from the Federal and State level. Cities all around the United States are struggling to get by with less money. As industries change and the economics of the world shifts, municipalities fall behind. One could argue that it is because outdated thinking and close-minded decisions make seeing ahead hard, if not impossible. Due to this, municipalities are laser-focused on big companies. Often times passing up the successful multi-million dollar companies because it does not have enough employees. It’s like a gambler always looking to hit big.
Why our finances are the way they are is debatable. Why the administration feels it needs more money is because they said they do. They may not have provided much information now, but if they want the levy to pass, they will have to provide information to the people.
Now that the levy is going to the ballot for voters, the next step is to educate ourselves on the matter. If you support the levy now, then sit back and wait. If you do not, sit back and wait. Either way, at the end of the day, no politician will be able to force this tax on you.
You Choose, You decide, You Vote.
I will be putting together a tax calculator and a resource hub online. I will also ensure that print material is placed around town. The admin stated that they will be holding meetings in the future to share information as well. Stay tuned to social media news sources as well. They will have the most up to date info in real-time.
Social Media Resources
Barberton Area Community News
City of Barberton