Questions from Residents

Resident Questions & Concerns About the May 4 Ballot

Submitted on February 23, 2021


Ordinance 04-2021 states that the amount of taxes which may be raised by levy within the 10-mil limitation will be insufficient for fully meeting the needs of provisions of Sections 5705.19 (I) and 5705.19 (J) of the Ohio Revised Code. At this time the Summit County Fiscal Office states that there are still 2.83 mils available to Twinsburg inside of the 10-mil limitation. Keeping the above in mind, I ask the following Questions:

1) Why does Ordinance 04-2021 ask for 2.4 mils when it states that the 2.83 mils still available to the City are insufficient?

It is rare that a municipality would place a voted tax levy on the ballot prior to exhausting all of its available inside or Charter millage, but to place a voted tax levy on the ballot the statutory language required in the legislation must identify that the 10-mill limitation is insufficient. Sections 5705.19 (I) and 5705.19 (J) provides for fully funding all staffing and operational needs of a Police and Fire department. Our total budget for Police and Fire (operating, pensions, capital, and dispatch) is close to $11 million dollars which is well in excess of the available 2.83 of inside mills, thus making the available inside millage ”insufficient.”1) 

2) If 2.83 mils are insufficient, why is the City only asking for 2.4 mils?


The 2.4 mills represents the identical millage the City sought when it approved the first phase of the Charter millage. This dedicated revenue source will provide funding to Police and Fire pensions and Police and Fire capital. We understand that it is only a fraction of the $11 million budget for our Safety Forces.

3) If ordinance 4-2021 is passed it will generate +/- 1.7 million dollars per year for the Police and Fire Departments. What will the City do with the corresponding 1.7 million dollars that will stay in the General Fund instead of being used for the Police and Fire Departments?


The 1.7 million provides a dedicated revenue source for specific Safety Force accounts. Again, the total budget for our Safety Forces is approaching $11 million. The budget is largely staffing expense, which continues to increase every year. While this dedicated millage may offset a small portion of the general fund contribution to Police and Fire, long term it will not keep up with the increasing operating costs, pension liabilities and capital expenses.

4) Last year the City Council approved an ordinance for a 4.9 mil increase. Council then talked about splitting the 4.9 mil increase into two levies, a 2.4 mil levy and a 2.5 mil levy. 

So here we are with a 2.4 mil increase on the May ballot.

If 4.9 mils were the correct increase last year, what has changed in the City’s finances today that would cause the City to ask for less money this year?


The City stills requires additional revenue outside the 2.4 mill tax levy, but based on the survey results and the additional CARES Act funding received in 2020 the City chose to seek only the 2.4 mills at this time.

5) In 2020 the City’s income tax revenue was about +/- a million dollars less than 2019. Despite this loss in revenue, the City ended 2020 with 3 million dollars more in the general fund than it had at the end of 2019. I know that some employees were laid off.  Capital Improvement Projects removed or were pushed from 2020 to 2021.

If 4.9 mils were the right number last year, what is today’s correct number?


The surplus in the General Fund was due to CARES Act funds received in 2020 along with the reductions in staffing and delayed capital projects. It is expected that income tax revenue will be down this year and our current budget reflects that the surplus will be needed to fund operations and capital in 2021. The need for increased revenue has not changed over the past 7 years and Finance committee discussions targeted the need for $3.5-$4.0 million of additional revenue. The 2.4 mills helps, but does not fix the problem.

6) Last year Ordinance 75-2020 listed specific Fund Types, Millage and Purpose. See example below.

Fund Type

Millage

Purpose

Police Pension (existing)

.30 mills

Police Pension Expense

Fireman’s Fund (existing)

.30 Mills

Fire Pension Expense

Police Pension

.70 mills

Police Pension Expense 

Fire Pension

.70 mills

Fire Pension Expense 

Capital Improvements

1.00 mills

Police/Fire Capital Expense


Can you please explain why Ordinance 04-2021 was not constructed the same way with specified Fund Types?

Ordinance 04-2021 has the required statutory language to place a voted Police and Fire tax levy on the ballot. If approved, the 2022 tax budget will identify the 2.4 mills and specifically allocate them to the Police Pension, Fire Pension, and Police and Fire Capital Account.