Thursday, December 31, 2009


The head of Classic automotive group, Jim Brown, resigned from the Lake County Port Authority Board. Brown Cited that he was "tired of" leaving board meetings because of the "chatter" associated with his conflicts of interest that have arisen since he is the fixed based operator (FBO) at Lost Nation Airport and on the Board. See the News-Herald story here.

Mayor Dave Anderson should have know better.

Jim Brown will still try to steer the County Port Authority into buying the Airport for his pleasure and business interests.

Good riddens!

Your loyal blog will take credit as some of the chatter.

More on this later.

Ohio Elks Associations gives Concord a small Grant: Hats off to Them!

The News-Herald ran a story today about the installation of so called "Knox-Boxes" being installed on the homes of elderly residents. For a change NO TAX MONEY WAS USED!

The Ohio Elks Association gave Concord Township a $750 grant to buy four boxes to lend to the Community.

Hats off to the Ohio Elks Association!

Wouldn't it be great to see Community Organizations raise money from the demographics they serve for use like this?! I think so!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Petition filings: Let's Hope Dan Troy and Steve Latourette get some competition

We might see some competition in the Fall 2010 elections.

Concord Township Trustee Chris Galloway has pulled petitions at the Lake County Board of Elections to run for County Commissioner seat that expires in 2010 now held by Commissioner Dan Troy.

The US 14th Congressional race for this fall saw Deputy Chief of Staff Dino Disanto pull petitions for U.S. Rep. Steve Latourette. Couldn't Latourette even show up himself? Also pulling petitions were Paul Bailey and John Green, both Lake County residents.

We can only hope one of these guys has a lot of money and give Steve Latourette a serious competition; Latourette has been spending tax dollars like a kid in a candy store since being put on the House Appropriations Committee.

In the Ohio 62nd House district only Loraine Fende pulled petitions for the seat she holds.

Finally, Painseville Municipal Court Judge Michael A. Cicconetti pulled petitions to run for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Let's hope Dan Troy and Steve Latourette are vigorously challenged!

Madison: hold onto to your wallets!

Get ready Madison School District...the new School Board is coming...hold onto your wallets! The spills the beans on the new Madison School Board's Plan to "stick it to the tax payers," by asking for the approval of bond issue to match State tax dollars for school construction. Here is the article. This quote sets the stage:

The clock is ticking for the Madison School Board to get on next year's ballot to again seek approval of a bond issue to rebuild its campuses and a separate operating levy to halt deficit spending.

These two quotes from the article give us some hope for Madison

We haven't passed any new money in 20 years, and the deficit levy has nothing to do with the school construction project
The five-member school board saw 2007 voters reject a combined $33.6 million (4.81-mill) bond issue for reconstruction and a 0.5-mill, 23-year operating levy to avoid school financing deficits

I think the people of Madison have shown great fiscal discipline by keeping the school board and teacher's union at bay for twenty years!

I simply don't care what excuse the article offers. For the record, the article makes the case on behalf of the new school board elect that if they do not pass the bond issue Madison will miss out on millions of State tax dollars.

Too bad. I don't want you to have those tax dollars either.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dan Troy and Gov't Reform

Lake County Commissioner Board President Dan Troy is a vice Chair of the Ohio Commission for Local Government Reform.

See the article here.

Having Dan Troy as any part of an entity studying Gov't reform is the dictionary definition of "The wolf watching the hen's house."

Dan Troy is a career politician; Dan Troy is a double-dipper. Both of these facts should him from studying local Gov't reform. Dan Troy is part of the problem.

Do you think Dan Troy will suggest cost saving measures such as the elimination of duplicated services at the City and County Levels? Do you think Dan Troy will suggest eliminating the positions of some local elected officials and/or the civil service employees that work for them?

How about having some tax paying citizens who do not receive pay checks, b preculde enefits, AND a pension from public dollars study local Gov't reform.

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Twist on Double Dipping

Does your friendly City or County employee also serve as an elected official? Does that smiling face behind the wheel of City or County snow plow serve on City Council? How about that hard working county administrator...does he serve on a City Council or as a part-time Mayor!?

Granted by numbers there are only dozens, or perhaps a hundred or so special folks who are City or County Employees that also serve as elected officials in Lake County. Why these people luck?

Well besides participation the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and the tax-payer funded contributions these people enjoy...time is also vested on top of that as an elected official simultaneously!

That's right!!!! You can earn even more time towards a generous OPERS pension if you are a city or County employee AND you can finagle a seat on City Council or as a part-time Mayor.

My favorite double dipper of this sort is Lake County Assistant Administrator Bill Margalis who has served as Council President of Wickliffe, and is now going to be Mayor!

Who is your favorite double dipper of this sort?

Double Dipping

Last week the News-Herald ran a story about so-called "double dipping. Here is a link to the story by Dianne Ryder.

The definition of "double-dip" is to "obtain income in two different ways, usually in an illicit matter."

Precisely, the double-dipping that we are referring to is the act of of a Public Employee, that is elected official (e.g. Auditor, County Commissioner, etc.); civil servant (e.g. teacher, superintendent, county administrator, other county employee, city worker) retires from public service and is re-hired after a short period. Upon re-hire the retired public employee collects the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) pension AND the salary at the position they were re-hired to fill.

This activity is rampant everywhere. In Lake County Commissioners Dan Troy and Bob Aufuldish served for many years as elected officials and now collections OPERS pensions and salaries as County Commissioners.

Superintendent Keith Miller of the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools is retired and collecting a pension while serving as WEL Superintendent.

With unemployment ballooning...the young not being able to find we need elected officials, city, county and state civil servants collecting a pension and a salary? Should they be taking up valuable jobs after decades of service?

Mind you: DOUBLE-DIPPING IS LEGAL IN OHIO. But, is it ethical?

Anyone want to point out more double-dippers?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tim Grendell and State Senators May have to Work on Christmas

Governor Strickland is threatening to keep Ohio's Senate in Session by proclamation, allowed by State Constitution, in order to force a budget compromise on a $851 million budget shortfall: EVEN ON CHRISTMAS!

See the Plain Dealer article here.

Governor Strickland has BADLY,BADLY, BADLY bungled the State budget for 2010: video lottery terminals fell through, less stimulus money than bloated State Government needed came through, so now the Governor's fix is raise taxes 4.2% for the next year.

To be fair, Stickland proposed and Ohio's Legislature agreed to suspend the 4.2% income tax cut for this year that was signed into law a few years ago.

Both Loraine Fende and Mark Schneider, the State Representatives for Lake county, agreed with the Governor and voted to raise your taxes.

Ohio's Senate is NOT going along with the plan, YET.

Will Tim Grendell and other State Senator's defend our pocket books and say "no" to the tax hike?

Lake County Sales Tax Stays at 6.25% !! We (the Residents) had an impact!!

That's right, WE, the RESIDENTS of Lake County have swayed the Lake County Commissioners to hold the sales tax rate at 6.25%. The News-Herald has several comments from the Lake County Commissioners here.

This loyal blog, active residents, and local radio programs put the pressure on the Commissioners and the sales tax stayed the same!

The Commisoners cut the budget by a paltry 3%, and passed a temporary budget of about $15 billion. So, we are not out of the woods. Ohio Revised Code requires a permanent budget by April. That being said...we may be in for a surprise in a few months.

However, with Board President Dan Troy up for reelection in 2010 I am sure the sales tax will stay the same.

There is no buzz yet on a republican candidate for Commisoner...ahem Dale Fellows!

Wickliffe School Board Saga

As the school book turns?

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) cleared Vicki Wheatley of any wrong doing that may have endangered her educator's license. A News-Herald article discusses the recent development here.

The Wickliffe Schools have been like the Wild West this year. During the past election there were political action committees operating illegally, instults traded between board members and teachers, ..., the Vicki Wheatley saga, ..., and new school board members to boot!

Anyhow, Vicki Wheatley was the principle of Wickliffe Highschool. At the end of last school year Ms. Wheately was put on paid administrative leave by the school district over an issue involving the placement of students in classes for credit that occured at the same time and possibily graduating students with enough credits according to the ODE, but not Wickliffe's School Board.

With that said...Ms Wheatley has maintained her innocence and has been vindicated as far as we are concerned. Congrats Ms. Wheately! I hope your federal law suit teaches the Wickliffe School Board and Kathleen Cintavey a lesson.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Delay of Game: Port Authority pushes report and public meetings back a few months

According to the story, here, Lake County Port Authority Officials are delaying the feasibility study and report on Lost Nation Airport. Don't worry though, the Port Authority Executive Director says report is going well!

I wonder if the problem is really that Jim Brown, Port Authority Board Member and Lost Nation Fixed Based Operator (FBO), needs more time to convince fellows Port Board members that the prudent thing to do is buy the Airpot from the City of Willoughby.

Shame on Willoughby City Council for Authorizing Mayor Dave Anderson's request to enter into a contract with Jim Brown as the FBO for Lost Nation Airport.

I bet you that the report will conclude by suggesting that Lake County needs the Lost Nation Airport and that the Port Authority must make financial arrangements to buy it from Willoughby!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Looking Back: County's budget woes and how we got to recent job cuts

On October 15th the News-Herald ran an article in which the Commissioners asked Department Heads to work together to reduce the budget by 7% - 12%, and that they instituted a "soft hiring freeze. See the article here. The article said layoffs would be avoided at all costs. Furthermore, the Commissioners wail and gnash teeth at the fact that property tax collections are down due to sinking property values and sales tax collections are down.

Fast forward to November 18th: the commissioners informed us in a News-Herald article that the sales tax collections were down about 6%. See the article here. Even with massive federal government spending to encourage car sales through October were no help!

Yikes! Sounds like we are being set-up for a sales-tax increase, or another property tax increase!

Guess at all costs lead to layoffs!

Fast forward to November 25th: the News-Herald reported that Sheriff Dan Dunlap will layoff 14, close a jail, and scale back court house security. See the article here.

Then, yesterday we learn more layoffs are taking place at the Sheriff's Office and in the Prosecutor's Office. See the article here. Two road deputies from the Sheriff's Office, three attorneys and secretaries from the Prosecutor's office got pink slipped.

I applaud the Commissioners for cutting the budget. Seriously, thank-you. But, why does it always happen at the expense of safety forces? No room to scale back in the utilities, engineer's office, etc.?

I would like to here what else people think could be cut in Lake County.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What do the Lake County Commissioners Do?

Q: What do the Lake County Commissioners do?

A: Taken from their own; website

Duties & Staffing

The Board of Lake County Commissioners has both quasi-legislative and quasi-administrative powers and through resolutions adopted during their regular weekly meeting, sets the administrative policy for county government. While the Commissioners have no power to initiate legislation, they do exercise powers granted to them by the Ohio General Assembly through state law.

The Commissioners are responsible for the appropriations of the county tax revenues through the adoption of the annual county budget. The County operates on a January 1 through December 31 fiscal year and must adopt the final budget no later than April 1 of each year. The budget includes appropriations for the numerous county offices, including those offices headed by other elected officials. The Commissioners have the power to levy taxes and to approve the placement of tax levies and bond issues on the ballot for consideration by county voters. The Commissioners also administer all federal grant monies.

The Commissioners hold title to all county owned property and are responsible for the upkeep. By law, they must provide office space for all county offices. They must build the facilities necessary to house various offices such as the Courtrooms, the Jail, Engineer's facilities and parking. The Commissioners award all contracts for purchase and construction projects.


Sad day in Lake County: More Layoffs

Perhaps we are starting to see Government have to face reality: layoffs. Please understand that there are not too many things more sad than seeing another lose their job.

However, years of living high off the hog...raises...increased benefits...time off...longevity pay...had to catch-up with everyone.

The News-Herald details more jobs lost in county offices: sheriff deputies, prosecutors, ...; see the article here.

More details to come tonight...stay tuned!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Teachers union in Fairport Harbor need to take page from the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools Playbook.

Perhaps the Fairport Harbor Education Association should settle down with the heavy handed statements. The News-Herald details how the Fairport Harbor Education Association is doing what unions, a union is what they are, do best: bully, intimidate, whine! See the News-Herald article, here.

"In Fairport Harbor, the steelheads are running, but negotiations between the school employees and the board are at a standstill. Maybe the superintendent is waiting for deer season," began Fairport Harbor Education Association spokeswoman Becca Grunda Oct. 28.

This quote, taken from the News-Herald story, is attributed to union representatives trying to negotiate a new raise and more benefits...I mean a new contract.

The Fairport Harbor Education Association should know better!

Look at the Willoughby-Easlake (WEL) School District's voters: despite a deep recession, decreasing wages and benefits, lost jobs, etc. the voters handed WEL schools and the Willoughby-Eastlake Teacher's Association (WETa) more money!

Don't be fooled by Superintendent Keith Miller's negotiated wage freezes: Keith Miller and the two new School Board Members (both with teaching backgrounds) will give the unions generous raises next year.

Have hope Fairport Harbor! Wait a year on the raises. You will be rewarded handsomely.

I guarantee that the Willoughby-Eastlake School Board and Administration will give HUGE raises out next year!!!! Fairport Harbor should have had a game plan like Superintendent Keith Miller and the Willoughby-Eastlake Teachers Association.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

News Today

New City Manager at the helm in Mentor

Wayward boys in Lake County need a new home

Lake County Residents not getting a good deal on electricity

NOPEC sells Lake County Short

The North East Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) negotiated a paltry 6% discount for its member communities' residents, and a 4% discount for commercial customers from First Energy Solutions for residential electricity supplies. NOPEC released a statement on their Website today, see here.

The following picture is taken from NOPEC's website and lists the Lake County member communities.

A 6% discount is all we get? let us down! We had a 10% discount this year! Times are tough...companies want business. All you got us was 6%?

According to the article NOPEC negotiated with First Energy Solutions (FES) a one time $12 million grant for energy conservation in FES' service area.

The press release goes on to say that FES will save NOPEC residential and commercial members $19 million through 2019.

A 6% discount is letting FES off too easy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Community Events: Holiday Fun!

The Willoughby Kiwanis Club will host a Spaghetti Dinner at 5PM this Thursday 12/5 in the bottom floor of City Hall. At 7PM Willoughby will hold its 40th tree lighting ceremony. Call 440-942-4200 for details.

Madison will host Christmas in the Park this Thursday 12/5 from 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM. Call 440-428-7526 for details.

Lunch with Santa at Grand River Cellars Winery & Restaurant, 5750 South Madison Road (Route 528), Madison; Enjoy holiday games, a food buffet and a visit with Santa; each child gets a gift. Event starts at 11:00 AM. Call 440-298-9838 for details.

HOLIDAY FESTIVAL, YMCA Outdoor Family Center, 4540 River Road, Perry; Festival features our Annual Craft Show, Holiday entertainment, luminaries, hayrides, crafts and a special visit from Santa. $5.00 optional activity fee includes hayrides, cookie decorating, craft and the opportunity for a picture with Santa. 12 PM- 6:00 PM. Call 440-259-2724 for details.

Fellowship United Church of Christ will host a living Nativity Scene from 6 PM - 8PM Friday 12/6. This is a great events for the kids; they can feed the livestock. Complimentary refreshments are provided. For more info call 440-944-7240.

Fairport Lighthouse & Museum will open for FREE from 10 AM - 4 PM this Saturday 12/7. Call 440-354-4825 for details.

A Breakfast with Santa Claus will be hosted in the Willoughby Hills Community Center on Saturday 12/10 from 8:30 AM - 12 PM. The Breakfast costs $1 for Children, and $5 for adults. Call 440-954-8075 for details.

WILDWOOD SINGERS HOLIDAY PERFORMANCE, Mentor Senior Center, 8484 Munson Road, Mentor; Come and enjoy many of your favorite holiday songs – no tickets needed! The Wildwood Singers are directed by David Debick; Sponsored by the City of Mentor's Wildwood Cultural Center, the Community Arts Commission, and the Wildwood Singers. 7:30pm-8:30pm. Call 440-974-5735 for details.

Lake County Budget Woes

The Lake County Commisioners have gone from one extreme to the other on our budget.

Back in mid october the News-Herald ran an article mentioning that the County Commissioners asked department heads for ideas to save money. The Commissioners also instituted a "soft hire" freeze. The article linked here says that the LAke County 2010 budget is $61 million dollars down from $63 million this year.

There was no impending doom in this article.

Then...last week came...and, your faithful blog discussed an article detailing how Sheriff Dan Dunlap had to slash $900, 000 from the county budget; a jail will be closing, 13 employees laid off, and security at the county court house badly downsized. See the News-Herald article here.



Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can we Afford Higher Utility Costs Now?

Many in Lake County are serviced by First Energy. Even in communities that participate in the popular NOPEC program still have their electricity delivered by First Energy and billed by them.

Not too long ago the State of Ohio passed legislation that allowed for competition in the utilities market. The North East Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) ensued as not-for-profit lobby force that negotiated betters rates with outside suppliers for participating communities. The result: 12% discount on electricity in NOPEC communities.

However, the State Legislature passed a law last year that required utilities to reduce sales, reduce output, use re-newable sources for generating power, etc.

The result was First Energy trying to charge you $21 for two light bulbs! A firestorm ensued!

First Energy is back at it again, and is asking for more time to craft a similar plan. The Plain Dealer covers it here.

There is a push to implement "smart grid" technologies that will help us reduce utility costs in the midst of all this legislation. For instance, the "smart grid" technology would internet based communications to communicate with the energy grid about your energy consumption.

No problem. Technology is great, so is the internet! We could all try to use our resource better. But, using less should not cost us more.

Can Lake County Residents afford higher utility rates in the face of all the tax levies and decreasing wages?

What do you think?

Living High off the Hog: Willoughby

Times are tough. Belts are tightening. Projects put on hold. You have heard it all.

Not in Willoughby, though!

The City of Willoughby is renovating City Hall and offices at cost of $2.2 million dollars. The News-Herald covers this very well, here, and gets comments from Mayor Dave Anderson.

Earlier this month we told you about the raises handed out in Willoughby too. At the end of this article the News-Herald tells us that Mayor Anderson is getting a raise of 7% in 2011.

It seems the Willoughby-Eastlake schools don't feel the pinch everyone has...or the Library either! Both the schools and the Library got the levies they asked for. Click this News-Herald link to find out how much the schools and library are getting this year from you.

Willoughby is doing well in tough times!

1. School levy passes at a cost of about $99 per $100, 000 of valuation,
2. library levy passes at a cost of about $33 per $100, 000 of valuation,
3. the Willoughby Mayor is getting a 7% raise,
4. the Willoughby City Hall is getting renovated for $2.2 million.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Painesville Power Plant gets a BAILOUT

The local fishwrap has a story today about a $3.74 million grant given to Painsville in order to help its city-run power plant comply with House Bill 221.

This grant to the Painesville power plant is a bail out due to the Ohio Legislature's meddling in power production and utilities.

Ohio House Bill 221 is the wrong-headed attempt by State lawmakers to force utilities into using more so-called green power and green sources for power generation.

Sure, we at this blog love technology; internet, computers, smart phones, high definition name it! All these things require electricity to work! All the homes and offices that these devices require gas to heat them!

You get the drift!

However, everything the Government gets involved in ends up screwed up! Take Ohio's attempts via House Bill 221 to get people to conserve electricity.

Guess what the utilities did?! The local electric utility decided it was pass out two compact fluorescent bulbs at a cost of almost $22. Last time I checked six bulbs could be bought for $12 at Lowe's.

The extra cost was due to the revenue that the utility would lose due to less demand.

So, the tax payers make-up the utilities' we give $3.74 million to the Painsville power plant?

Every time the government does something it costs us money!

Thanks a lot Painsville! We are bailing out your power plant...that's what this boils down to!

Sad day in Lake County: Layoffs

It is with a heavy heart that I share the linked News-Herald story, here. Sheriff Dan Dunlap had to cut $1 million from the department's $15 million budget.

Here is what the News-Herald had to say about what was cut:

The sheriff's office already has planned measures that will cut about $900,000 from its budget. They include closing the minimum security jail in Painesville Township, laying off 13 full-time corrections officers, one part-time officer, one full-time clerk and one part-time clerk. The office is eliminating the Road Patrol K-9 Program and closing the front door security post at the Lake County Court of Common Pleas. A deputy who is retiring also will not be replaced.

Sheriff Dunlap made a good point in the article:

Sheriff Daniel Dunlap explained that the cuts are painful, unwanted but unavoidable. It would be impossible to cut more than $1 million from a $15 million budget without cutting staff.

This point is a good one, but the reality is sad.

However, with the County Commissioners already setting the stage for a sales tax increase, the City of Mentor contemplating higher income taxes and/or property taxes, higher taxes in Willoughby (school and library levy), Willoughby Hills (road levy renewal, school levy, library levy), ..., sigh.

LAyoffs in the county and higher taxes; what are elected officials in these communities thinking?

Better yet, what are the voters thinking allowing elected officials to raise the taxes?

Monday, November 23, 2009








Mentor hits the Airwaves

The City of Mentor will start, or has recently started broadcasting on 1620 AM. This is the only system (i.e. city operated) of its kind.



I briefly remembered the linked story from the November 2nd News-Herlad. The project did not seem to cost too much $$$$ to start-up:

City Council approved purchasing the $43,936 radio system in July and plans were to be on air within a month. However, it was postponed because of a delay in receiving some of the equipment needed to relocate where the system would be mounted. Another $1,300 was needed to cover the cost of the additional equipment.

The article goes on to state that $20, 000 is Federal Homeland Security $$$$ was used.

My first reaction was: " isn't that dying?" I thought a bit longer. What happens in the event of emergency? No internet. No T.V.

Battery powered or solar powered radio.

Noy a bad idea Mentor.

What the Heck is Up in Wickliffe?

What the heck is going on in Wickliffe?!? We have been reading this on going saga for months!

We want to hear from you the loyal readership about what is going on in the Wickliffe schools.

Over the week-end y the News-Herald ran a story about the embattled Wickliffe High School Principal and her struggles with the School Board and Superintendent, here.

A lot of stories have been written about Vicki Wheatley and her suspension from active duty as principal of Wickliffe High School. Now, from what we can piece together Ms. Wheatley has been accused by the Superintendent of allowing students to register for two classes at the same time in extenuating circumstances (e.g. needing to graduate). Furthermore, Ms. Wheately is accused of allowing hall monitors to oversee classes when a substitute could have been used, and asking teachers to teach past their certifications.

Yawn. Not much going here in our opinion.

Did we miss something?????

Feel free to comment and fill us in.

LAst but not least...if Ms. Wheatley did nothing wrong...why has the Wickliffe School Board offered her three different settlement packages? If Ms. Wheatley is wrong why not just go to court if she sued?

Seems like the board may have something to hide!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hey Lake County: the taxes are coming, the taxes are coming!

A News-Herald article by John Arthur Hutchinson describes the wailing and gnashing of teeth by Lake County administrators about declining sales tax revenue. Read here.

Here is a snippet from the article:

Lake County commissioners weren't pleased Tuesday to learn that sales tax collections for August were down 11.5 percent when compared with August 2008. The data reflect a time when the federal Cash for Clunkers auto program was in full swing.

Even with the Federal Government's attempt to stimulate spending, we were still short! The article states that Lake County is projected to receive $ 1.17 million in sales tax proceeds, which is down $153, 230 from last year.

Wow! That is all the sales tax revenue decreased? I thought it would have been much worse.

Can you believe Commissioner Ray Sines skepticism about the sales tax figures?

I bet the sales tax are not going to get better in communities saddled with increased taxation due to new levies. Furthermore, can you imagine what will happen if a large chunk of the county (e.g. Mentor) is socked with a property tax or income tax increase.

Sadly, the commissioners appear to be setting the stage for tragedy: a tax increase in Lake County.

Hey Mentor: the taxes are coming, the taxes are coming!

Tax levies are looming around Lake County. The State of Ohio is only a few syllables away from confiscating more of your money by "delaying" the tax cut you were entitled to this year via a law passed a few years ago.

Budget crises are everywhere!

Enter the City of Mentor.

There is no budget crisis, per say, yet!

However, a News-Herald story by Jacom Lammer today lays the ground work for some tough decisions, here.

Here is the core of the budget issue in Mentor as discussed in the linked article from the News-Herald:

To date, the city's budgeted carryover balance is $8.2 million, but Malinowski said that could increase to $10.2 million if current figures hold.

Malinowski said the city aims to keep the carryover balance for 2010 at $7.6 million. The balance represents about two months of the General Fund's budgeted revenue, which is recommended by the Government Finance Officers Association.

Yet, to achieve that $7.6 million balance will require $3.5 million in cuts to the proposed General Fund, Interim City Manager Dan Llewellyn said.

Here are some of the proposal Mentor City Council is thinking about to fix the "problem:"

* 10 percent furlough or layoffs.

* 5 percent furlough.

* defer budgeted wage increase.

* voluntary forfeiture of additional pay items.

* 10 percent overtime reduction.

* waste subsidy elimination.

* not fill four firefighter and three police officer positions.

* reduce tax credit to 75 percent.

* increase Mentor income tax rate by 0.25 percent.

* add a 1 mill property tax levy.
Get ready for tax increases Mentor! Based on the lack of fiscal discpline throughout Lake County: Willoughby Eastlake School Levy, Library Levy, Eastlake Fire levy, and the likes; and, the State's inability to balance its checkbook: massive holes in the budget and various shenanigans to try and balance (video lottery terminals, suspended tax cuts) you can rest assured that Mentor will use this to justify tax increases!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Good Citizen

Hats of to the owner of Perfection Landscape and Design of Eastlake. A News-Herald article says, here, that the local chatter was that the landscape around the Willoughby-Eastlake libraries was looking bad this summer. According to the Willoughby-Eastlake Library system, reported in this article, the owner of the aforementioned landscape company stepped up to the plate and offered to volunteer his services for one year.

This is a true American. The owner stepped did something very generous despite a souring economy.

Earlier this year the Library system asked for a new levy around 1 mil and costing a homeowner around $30 per $100, 000 of valuation.

Please understand that I feel a laborer is worth his wages. However, the face of adversity in our community one noble citizen stepped up.

Now, the rest of those in Willoughby-Eastlake are saddled with two levies despite sagging wages.

Update: State Gov't trying to Seize More of Your Money: Form a Line!

Yesterday we discussed how our two State Representatives in Lake County voted to suspend our 4.2% income decrease.

How will the State Senator, Tim Grendell, that represents Lake County vote?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer covers a story detailing recent wrangling over this matter in the Ohio Senate, here.

Knowing that republicans, some in an election year, like to bellow from the roof tops about keeping taxes low...I thought this issue would never make it to a vote! I am shocked.

Anyhow, the Ohio House put a provision in their version of the bill to lower salary of State Wide Elected Officials by %4.2 where permitted by the State Constitution. The Senate version of the bill strips the pay cut out and makes a separate bill: Senate bill 209.

In order for the bill to pass five republican state senators would have to break with caucus and join the twelve democrats.

I don't think this is likely.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 16, 2009

State Gov't trying to Seize More of Your Money: Form a Line!

State law makers are hoping they can hand Governor Ted Strickland your money by the bag full! That's right!

Lake County Residents in some communities are being faced with tax hikes on property, now the State wants more money to fix its budget!

Governor Ted Strickland and Ohio's Legislature knew full well we were billions short of balancing the budget this year. Both the democrats AND republicans have plenty of the blame to SHARE.

However, the local media and the Governor have been rather disingenuous and very political. Thomas Suddes wrote a piece this week-end in Sunday opinion section of the Plain Dealer and posted on that is a total hatchet job on the issue! Here is the article.

In a nutshell: This past summer the State of Ohio Senate finally agreed to the passage of a $53.6 billion budget approved by the House and blessed by the Governor, see here. The State was billions more short, but after taking a handout from the Federal Gov't the Ohio Legislature passed a budget that depended on the now defunct Video Lottery Terminals to generate $1 billion dollars.

The first thing to point out here is that the budget agreed to by the House and Senate was only a %1.7 cut from the previous budget. This is disgusting, symbol of an arrogant out-of-touch government all of whom don't know the meaning of dollar.

Only a 1.7% cut from last budget...despite having double digit drops in revenue!!!!!

Both political parties and the Governor got this wrong! That is, unlike many families the Ohio Legislature and Government doesn't know it can't spend what it does not have!

This effects us all! Since the budget sustained a cut, a paltry one at that, the Willoughby-East Lake School district and Libraries both asked for a levy. Local communities can only assume more requests for tax increases are coming.

Now, to plug the last billion dollar hole both MarK Schneider (D, OH-63) and Lorraine Fende (D, OH 62) have decided to thumb their noses at a law past a few years ago and increase your taxes this year. That's right! A tax increase by democrats in the Ohio House and the Governor is discussed by the Plain Dealer, here.

Both Rep. Fende and Rep. Schneider voted to increase taxes on Ohians by delaying your tax cut. Do Rep.'s Fende and Schenieder not know some of us already had our taxes increased?

UPDATE: It Aint' Over 'till All the Votes are Counted: Where Are the Votes!?

The ten day deadline allowing the Lake County Board of Elections to start counting the approximately 1, 600 late absentees and provisional ballots.

Where are the votes!?

Stay tuned to this blog for the latest results: Wickliffe Mayor's Race, Madison School Board, etc.

Stay Tuned today!

UPDATE: Called BOE of Election this evening (Nov, 16th). I asked a very friendly BOE employee the status of the ballots that had to sit 10 days before counting. The friendly BOE employee told me that the election results would not be official until after the November 24th, 2009 meeting of the Board to certify the election.

No other information is available.


Friday, November 13, 2009

It Ain't Over 'Till All the Votes Are Counted: here come the ballots!

It has been ten days today since the November 3rd General Election! That means the Lake County Board of Election can start counting the late absentees and provisional ballots!

The Eastlake mayor's race was a lot of fun to watch. The Ugrincic Machine could not topple Mayor Andrzejewski .

However, as you can see Wickliffe's Mayor's race and Ward 1 is up for grabs! Can Councilman Levar rally?

The News-Herald chronicles the details here, but here's a quote from their article:

* The race for Wickliffe Council Ward 1 has 33 outstanding ballots left with a two-vote difference between the two candidates. James Bala received 620 votes, and Terri Jo Rotondo had 618 votes.

* The Wickliffe mayoral contest had a difference of 52 votes with 120 outstanding ballots left between the two candidates. Bill Margalis received 2,340 votes; Gordon F. Levar received 2,288 votes.

* For North Perry Village Council, voters selected four candidates with difference of four votes among three candidates vying for the fourth spot, and 11 outstanding ballots remain. Joe Stinson Jr. received 190 votes, Lorrie J. Taylor had 186 votes, and Michael Zinn had 186 votes.

* For Riverside School Board, voters selected three candidates with a difference of 37 votes between third and fifth place, with 139 outstanding ballots left in Painesville Township. Richard Radcliffe received 3,832 votes, Brian Kolkowski received 3,795 votes, and Thomas J. Trombley received 3,705 votes.

* For Madison School Board, voters selected three candidates with a 62-vote difference between third and fourth place, and 122 outstanding ballots left (92 in Madison Township and 30 in Madison Village). Duane H. Frager received 1,746 votes and Michael Legeza received 1,710 votes.

* For Kirtland School Board, 43 outstanding ballots remain. Voters selected three candidates with a difference of 11 votes between third and four place. Timothy E. Kehres received 1,194 votes and Keith A. McCrory garnered 1,183 votes.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lost Nation Airport: Always More to A Story

Today's News-Herald mentions that the long awaited report that will SUPPOSEDLY help to decide the fate of Willoughby's Lost Nation Airport. This is part of the two phase study that will cost the tax payers about $100, 000 according to the first mention of the report in the News-Herald this past September.

Here's the long and the short of it. About three years ago the Lake County Commissioners mentioned that they MAY interested in purchasing the Airport from the City of Willoughby. This helped the City of Willoughby to decide on an end to a longstanding squabble with the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) T & G Flying Club that has run the airport's operations for the past 20 years. Details can be found in the News-Herald Article, here.

A new FBO was chosen this past Fall. The FBO is CLASSIC JET CENTER.


"Classic ..." sounds familiar.

Classic Automotive group!

That's right!

Classic Automotive Group Mogul Jim Brown has a lot of car dealerships in Lake County.

Jim Brown also is a Board Member on the Lake County Port Authority.

The Lake County Port Authority helps finance deals in Lake County.

Wait a minute!

Jim Brown: owns Classic Automotive owns Classic Jet Lake County Port Authority Board Member.

Wait a another minute!

The Lake County Commissioners want to buy the Airport that Lake County Port Authority Board Member nows operates a business at!


Oh, yes!

What do you want to bet us that the Lake County Commissioners will buy the Lost Nation Airport from the City of Willoughby and continue to allows Lake County Port Authority Board Member Jim Brown to keep running his new business Classic Jet Center.

Bet the report does not even matter!

There is more to these stories about Lost Nation Airport reports!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Good Question and Some Things we Need to Know

If someone offered you $1, would you spend $2 to get it?

An age old questions asked in many forms is why a politician is willing to spend so much money campaigning to get a job that only pays a fraction. Case in point.
Matt Dolan (R, Russel Township) is said to be interested in spending $1 million of his own money to be the Cuyahoga County Executive according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and The News-Herald. Dolan is a State Representative that comes from a family of well known businessmen. However, if Dolan spends $1 million of his own money to make $175, 000 does this sound like good business?
Several public officials told David Glaser in a News-Herald article that it ain't about the money!
The print version of Glaser's article does a much much better job detailing how much your local elected officials on city councils and boards of trustees are making. However, the comments section of the on-line article is more entertaining and honest. The comment section correctly asks the same question raised above.
So why would someone spend $12, 000 on a Mentor City Council Race to make $12, 000 a year? Sure you are making a little bit on this one.
One reason could be the vested time that a council member makes in the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), and the fact that for a few thousand dollars you can by vested time! What a great deal! This is a fact the News-Herald article does not consider.
A source has told us that they recently purchased three years of time in PERS for around $4, 000! Great Deal. Our source is a council member in one of the six cities listed below; one of the smaller ones.


1. Concord Township $20, 5684/yr; 4 year term; pop. 16, 405
2. Painseville $20, 568/yr; 4 year term; pop. 19, 101
3. Perry $19,000/yr; 4 year term; pop. 9, 152
4. Madison $15, 998/yr; 4 year term; pop. 19, 972
5. Leroy $11, 000/yr; 4 year term; pop. 3,883

Council Member:

1. Mentor $12, 000/yr; 4 year term; pop. 51, 825
2. Willoughby $8, 000/yr; 2 year term; pop. 22, 561
3. Willowick $8, 000/yr; 4 year term; pop. 13, 727
4. Eastlake $7, 600/yr; 4 year term; pop. 19, 520
5. Wickliffe $7, 600/ yr; 4 year term; pop. 12, 983
6. Mentor-on-the Lake $6, 050/yr; 4 year term; pop 8, 288
7. Painseville $6, 000/y;r 4 year term; pop. 1, 282

Here is a good example. Wickliffe Councilman Bill Margallis is leading the Mayor's
race. Wait a minute!
Bill Margalis is also a County Administrator! That's right! Councilman
is full time county employee earning vested PERS retirement time, earning time as a
council member,
and will now switch hats to become a suburban Mayor! What a great set-up!
He will be earning
a handsome salary from the County, benefits, time toward a PERS
pension...and, will supplement that
with income from being a Mayor.

Sign me up!

Government is the only section of the workforce that never seems to take a hit, or go long
without a pay raise. A News-Herald article describing the candidate's for Willoughby's Ward 1
race before the election reveals that Willoughby Mayor Dave Anderson will be getting a nearly
7% raise in January 2011. Anderson's $60, 755 salary will increase to $65, 275. Mayor Anderson
is also Willoughby's Safety Director, which pays $35, 017. So, Mayor Anderson's total monetary
compensation will rise from $95, 772 to $100, 292! Zoinks!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It Aint' Over 'till All the Votes are Counted: Willoughby Eastlake School Levy (Issue 7)

Well, well, well. Sources tell us that the Willoughby Eastlake Teacher's Association (WETa) has been giddy that 427 more voters voted "YES" than "NO" on November 3rd for Issue 7. Giddy you ask? We have been told that WETa president Tom Moscovic approached the podium with W-I-D-E SMILE to "thank" the voters of the seven municipalities included in the Willoughby-Eastlake School (WES) district.

I guess WETa President Tom Moscovic didn't bother to notice that there about 500 uncounted votes. The News-Herald breaks the numbers down in each of the WES municipalities.

ITS HIGHLY UNLIKELY, but if 80% of late vote goes for the Nays we can teach the WES District that it can't stick it hand out when everyone else is hurting. But, wait a minute! Early results showed that more than 60% of the absentees went against the levy! God help us!

The passage of this levy only teaches the beggars to keep their hands out.

Superintendent Keith Miller negotiated a wage freeze with all the unions, but said the levy was needed to buy books and computers. So, we need $5.9 million in books and computers over the next five years?

Don't think so! I bet the WETa President comes back next year and demands bigger raises. Guess what! The teachers will get the raises with two of their own winning board seats. God help us! The inmates will be running the asylum.

Monday, November 9, 2009

It Aint' Over 'till All the Votes are Counted: Madison School Board

We told you that It ain't over 'till all the votes are counted in Wickliffe. It ain't over in Madison either!

Displaced Madison Schools Employee Theresa Ward maintains an UNOFFICAL 14 vote edge over self-employed financial planner Duane Frager according to results posted on the Lake County Board of Elections Website.

The News-Herald points out what we said already, there are a lot of uncounted votes at 105 Main Street in the vault protected by Director Janet F. Clair. The News-Herald says there is about 2,800 uncounted votes. Soucres tell us it may be over 3, 000 votes left to count due to late absentees post marked by the correct date and provisional ballots.

Put rally caps on, or hope for the big stop...depending on who you are rooting for!

It Aint' Over 'till All the Votes are Counted: Wickliffe Mayor's Race

This past General Election has come and gone. Hats off to Lake County Board of Elections Director Janet F. Clair and her staff; Election Day seems to have gone smoothly since no major problems, irregularities, etc have surfaced yet. According to the Lake County BOE's website The voter turnout in Lake County was 45.07%.

This past election cycle had some heated municipal races: Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski fended of the Ugrincic Machine's bid to elect retired law enforcement officer Walt Ugrincic, and Council President Bill Margalis leads Councilman Gordon Levar by 52 votes. As of right now election results are UNOFFICIAL! Council President Bill Margalis' 2,340 (50.56%) votes may not be enough to hold onto the lead over Councilman Levar's 2,288 votes (49.44%); this is the vote with 9 of 9 precincts counted. An automatic recount would kick-in if the FINAL, OFFICIAL vote tally is than one half of one percent.

Why the Lake County Resident, politico, and the like asks!?

As of now there are about 3, 000 votes to still be counted county-wide according to our sources at the BOE. These 3,000 votes include late absentees post marked by the correct date and provisional ballots.

If Council President Margalis holds on his time would be divided between the part-time Mayor's Post and his full-time job as a County Administrator.

In other Wickliffe election news it appears that Incumbent Councilman Matt Jaworski was defeated Ronald P. Ely with an unofficial vote count of 600 to 539, respectively. Tough loss for a hard working young man; hopefully Jaworski picks himself up...dusts off and gets back on the horse quickly.

Stay tuned. We have to talk about that brutal school board race!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Dan Troy and Your Wallet

This past week Lake County Commissioners Dan Troy (D) and Ray Sines (R) sparred verbally over a cut proposed by Sines to the fee paid by homeowners in communities participating the Lake County Storm Management Program according to a News-Herald article.

At the last Commissioner meeting Commisoner Troy and Commissioner Aufuldish (D) voted to keep the rate the same. Commissioner Sines proposed a cut of 10% for both residential and non-residential participants in the program. However, the proposal gained no traction with either of the two Commissioners.

Commissioner Troy scoffed at Sines proposal by saying it is an "arbitrary cut." Sines, however, noted that It would be a good sign by the commissioners to say we understand the economy is tough," Sines said. "This is one way we can reduce the obligation of property owners in the county."

Lake County residents seem to be generous folks; just about every local tax levy passed on this past Tuesday! But, don't play us for a fool!

Commissioner Troy's pompous remark that any cut is "arbitrary" is wrong-headed. Everyone is watching every penny! If a couple of bucks is not a big deal to you Mr. Troy, how about you pay someone's increased property taxes in a participating community affected by the passage of levies?!

UPDATE: Apparently Geuaga County Residents could use an "arbitrary cut." According to a News-Herald article found here, 753 Geauga County property owners are $456, 217.55 behind on sewer bills. These late sewer bills will result in $54, 746.10 in fines. I wonder if everybody in Lake County who owns property is up-to-date? My guess would be NO! I bet an dollar off the bill would help Lake County Residents. Tisk tisk Commissioner Troy! Have some compassion for your constituents. Do you make so much money a couple of bucks is "arbitrary" to you?


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