The idea for a one-mil tax levy being added to the next ballot was met with strong opposition by village council members Monday night (Jan. 20).
The levy is being discussed as a possible intervention to help correct the current deficit in the cemetery funds. The deficit in the village's cemetery fund continues to put Newcomerstown at risk of losing village status if the issue is not corrected within the next four years.
Council member Heather Stein-Wells said, "We cannot keep asking our village residents to pay more money through additional taxes, this is just not the answer."
Council member Sue Simmons agreed and added that the additional tax would be another financial burden to village residents.
"I think another tax would be detrimental to us all right now," Simmons said. "I speak for everyone in the village, including myself. We, village council, have some new council members on board now with fresh ideas. I think we need to pull together and see what else we can do to help correct the problem (cemetery funding deficit) instead of taxing the working class citizens. They are all struggling everyday already, we can't put more financial burden on them."
Council member Jim Carr said, "I have always supported anything concerning the park and the cemetery, but I am inclined to support the other council members on this matter. The tax payers are not going to accept this (one mil tax levy)."
Council member Earl McCormick commented, "We (the village) cannot afford a tax levy, there are many families in Newcomerstown that cannot afford to pay anything more than what they already are paying. We (the village) need to be mindful of our spending right now, that's where we need to start, not adding a tax levy, that is not the way to do this."
McCormick pointed out that the recent demolition/removal of unsafe, dilapidated structures in Newcomerstown brought the village some additional funds ($47,162) through the Move Ohio Foreward program. He stated that he feels this, as well as other similar projects could be one way to help start generating some of the funding to help correct the village's cemetery deficit.
Village council entered a brief executive session to discuss assignment of the council committees for 2014. The regular session was later resumed and the council committees were announced. The council committee assignments for 2014 are as follows (* denotes as chair person for each committee):
Mayor Pro Tempore: Simmons.
Clerk Pro Tempore: Stein-Wells.
Sewer and Public Works, and Community Events: *Travis Pollock, Jim Trzop, McCormick.
Public Safety and Public Relations: *Trzop, Carr, Simmons.
Finance and Long Range Planning: *Stein-Wells,
See COUNCIL, page 2
Building and Grounds Community Development: *McCormick, Travis Pollock, Stein-Wells.
Streets, Sidewalks and Recreation: *Simmons, Travis Pollock, Carr.
Legislation, Rules and Personnel: *Carr, Simmons, Stein-Wells.
The following persons were appointed by Mayor Jim Friel:
Board of Public Affairs: Al Miskimen.
Cemetery Board: Jim Reed.
Planning Commission: Trzop.
Community Improvement: Travis Pollock.
Tuscarawas Regional Planning: McCormick and alternate Audrey Hanni.
Board of Dependency: Trzop and Simmons.
Records Commission: Camille Smith.
Shade Tree Commission: Stein-Wells.
Street Commissioner: Mike Bryant.
Fire Commissioner: Bobby McGarry.
Tri-County Ambulance Representative: McCormick, and alternate Carr.
Council's next meeting will be Monday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at the David Barber Civic Center.