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A look at issues on the November ballot

News Editor

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Updated: Friday, October 19, 2012 14:10

Issues Color Pre-Pressed.jpg

Bob Taylor / IC

Erin Connolly, a manager at the Sanger branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library System and UT alumna, assists fellow UT alumna Louise Ehrick on Tuesday. Library funding is one of the issues on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Though the races at the top of the ballot garner the most attention, students registered to vote in Toledo will also find nine proposals on their ballots — two statewide issues and seven city or county proposals.

The two state questions deal with Ohio’s state constitution. The seven local referendums involve property tax renewals or increases for a variety of services.

State Issue 1
This issue asks the public if they would like a convention at which to amend the state constitution. The issue, which has come before the public four times, has never passed. The state constitution mandates that the issue appear on the ballot every 20 years. 
State Issue 2 
This constitutional amendment would create a state-funded, non-elected commission to decide state legislative district lines. The commission would have 12 members, consisting of four members from each of the two biggest political parties and four members unaffiliated with either party. 
Supporters say this could put an end to gerrymandering and point to states like California that have similar systems in place. Opponents question the legality of asking appellate court judges to narrow the pool of applicants. Because commission members are required to report their political affiliation, some argue the measure would force judges into making politically charged decisions. 
Issue 5: Parks and Recreation
This new tax of 1 mill, or $1 for every $1,000 of taxable value, would fund the growth and maintenance of Toledo-area public recreational facilities and programs. It would stay in place for 10 years. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $30.62 per year if the levy passes, according to the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Issue 20: Toledo Public Schools
This new tax of 4.9 mills to support the operations of Toledo Public Schools would last for 10 years. It would raise $13.3 million per year. Supporters include United Way of Greater Toledo and the Chamber of Commerce. The levy, which is the largest on the ballot, would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $150.06 per year.
Issue 21: Metroparks

This 0.9-mill levy would replace an 0.3-mill levy that expires this year and would support the Toledo-area Metroparks system. It would remain in place for 10 years. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay an additional $19.10 per year, according to the Chamber of Commerce. If the measure fails, the current levy will expire, reducing the bill on a $100,000 home by $8.46.

Metroparks spokesman Scott Carpenter said the money will be used in part to make up for $3 million in support that was lost due to reduced home values and state budget cuts. 

He said plans include “taking care of what we’ve got and finishing what we’ve started” if the levy is passed.

The Metroparks system also has a 1.4-mill operating levy, which will continue even if this measure fails.

Issue 23: Library services

This proposal would replace the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s 2-mill levy, which expires at the end of this year, with a 2.9-mill levy. It would increase the property tax bill for the owner of a $100,000 home by $27.55 for a total of $88.80 going to library services, according to the Chamber of Commerce.

The levy would remain in place for five years.

Rhonda Sewell, media relations coordinator for the library system, said funds from the levy would go toward reversing the cuts in services the library has had to make in recent years. Failure would lead to the closure of several of the library’s 19 branches, she said.

(Disclosure: Sewell is a former board member of the Collegian Media Foundation, which publishes The Independent Collegian.)

Issue 24: Mental health services
This proposal calls for levying 1 mill to support mental health services and alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs in Lucas County. Supporters say the need for mental health and recovery services has grown in recent years while funding has decreased. The levy would last 10 years and cost $30.62 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
Issue 25: Children’s services
Lucas County Children Services will be on the ballot in November in attempt to gain an 0.85-mill increase of its current 1-mill levy, which expires at the end of 2013 and would go into effect in 2014. Julie Malkin with the Lucas County Children Services said a majority of the funds will go to funding case workers and the cost of child care, should the levy pass. Malkin said the levy would help ease the approximate 30 positions lost through attrition over the past few years. It would increase the tax bill for a $100,000 home by $26.04, for a total of $56.66 going to children’s services, and would last for five years.
Issue 26: Imagination Station
This is the only levy on the ballot that does not involve a tax increase. The proposal calls for continuing the tax that supports Imagination Station, a hands-on science museum in downtown Toledo, for another five years. The 0.17-mill levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $5.21 per year. It accounts for 41 percent of Imagination Station’s budget, according to The Blade.

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