January 3, 2017
Dear Governor Kasich,
We, the members of the Mayor’s Partnership for Progress, a collaboration of Mayors in 12 Counties in Southeast Ohio, write to you seeking the restoration of the Local Government Funds to pre-2012 levels. We understand the desire of the State of Ohio to close the gap on an $8,000,000,000 deficit that existed prior to 2012, but feel your assessment of local capacity was erroneous.
Some communities may have been inefficient, and could find savings through shared services, but in our region we have utilized shared services (formally and informally) and have also been skilled at frugality for decades. We rely on volunteers to complete many tasks that would be done by paid employees in other municipalities. These tasks include park maintenance, building repairs, cleaning services, clearing brush, building playground equipment and many other activities.
Many of our communities have cut basic services because of the loss of Local Government funds and dwindling revenues in other areas. Furthermore, we face huge challenges like rampant substance abuse that place further strains on our municipal budgets. Some communities have even cut back on law enforcement.
We agree with the assumptions put forth by the Ohio Municipal League in a paper from November 2014 entitled, “Our Cities and Villages; Bringing Ohio to Life”
… However, the bulk of the tax cuts were not state revenue sources, but rather local government revenue sources (for example, the Estate Tax and Tangible Personal Property Tax cuts). Meanwhile the bulk of spending cuts were distributions to local governments. We think the state should share in austerity rather than merely cutting the taxes and spending that go to other governments.
Meanwhile, state spending increased over the last several years. In fact, every statewide elected office has increased its budget, along with the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate. Meanwhile, local government budgets have gotten smaller.
We argue that true fiscal restraint would involve the cutting of one’s own budget, not the cutting of subordinate budgets.
We understand that some additional funds will be made available to Townships and Villages less than 1,000 in population, but this comes at a cost to the Cities and larger Villages in our region. Based on these and many other comments, the Mayor’s Partnership for Progress respectfully calls for restoration of the Local Government Funds to pre-2012 levels.
Passed this day: December 8, 2016 Resolution 012-16
Gary Goosman, President, Mayor’s Partnership for Progress Mayor, Village of Amesville
Mayor Connie Pelletier Village of Wellston - Vice President
Mayor Randy Heath City of Jackson
City Manager Gene Greene Village of Gallipolis
Mayor Annice Erikson Village of Zaleski
Mayor Steve Patterson City of Athens
Mayor Luke Feeney City of Chillicothe
Mayor Michael Lorentz City of Belpre
Mayor Richard Wetzel Village of Chesterhill
MayorRenee Brunton Village of Shawnee
Mayor Fred Redfern Village of Crooksville
Mayor Kim Wortman Village of McArthur
Mayor Greg Fraunfelter City of Logan