Voting Update; Water Rates, Pay Rates
You've weighed in on the water rate increase and on the pay raises for Toledo City Council and the mayor's office. Last month, more than 60 percent were in favor of adjusting the water rates for much-needed repairs to our processing system that ensures clean drinking water. The administration has put together a very detailed plan. NONE of the money by law can go to anything other than the repairs planned by our Department of Public Utilities. I invite you to review the information that includes 27 specific plans for the repairs and their associated costs.
Regarding the pay raises: 75 percent of you did not favor a raise for council members (from the current $27,500 to $32,500) and 94 percent were against boosting the mayor's salary (from $122,400 to $136,000).
On Tuesday, April 30th, we'll likely vote on those issues. I plan on voting for the water rate increase, or what I would like to call, "The Water Safety Investment Ordinance." I do NOT plan on voting for any pay raises for anyone.
I belong on several committees and commissions. Often, this is where the work of government gets done. Here are some notable actions coming from a few of those groups:
Ohio Public Works Commission: I was appointed to this commission by the Ohio Senate in 2011. They oversee objectives for the State Capital Improvement Program, which supplies infrastructure repair dollars to communities in Ohio. We recently released more than 1,200 projects for work at a cost of $420 million. Additionally, they support the Local Transportation Improvement Program (389 projects costing $145 million), and Clean Ohio Conservation Programs (100 projects with $36 million invested). The Commission normally maintains a portfolio of 1,600 active projects at one time. It maintains a revolving loan portfolio of 2,300 loans that are in billing status.
City of Toledo Finance Committee: I was recently added to this committee after some shuffling on council. I'm happy to be on this committee. Bean Counters (and I use the term affectionately) provide the city with an update on revenue. Individual income taxes were down slightly in the first quarter of 2013, and are expected to be down this year. Business income taxes, by the way, were up almost 18 percent in 2012.
Criminal Justice Coordinating Council: I was appointed to this council shortly after I took office in 2008. It is represented by some quality leaders in the law enforcement community, including area police chiefs and county officials. We recently gave the go ahead to hire a Re-entry Coordinator who will work within the community to help criminal offenders acclimate back to society. Current volunteer boards have been a model for the rest of the state in working with our court system and area non-profits on this very delicate issue.
Colleen Kardasz: You've heard it said, "Good help is hard to find." I'd like to add that, "Great help is hard to keep." Many of you may have spoken with my aide, Colleen Kardasz. Her last day as my council aide was last Friday. She did a tremendous job of keeping me organized. I was very comfortable bouncing ideas her way, and she always had good feedback. She is moving up within the city. The Finance Department stole her from us, and she will be working on some exciting new projects in that department.
Sam Burnett: Sam is one of the best advocates for senior citizens in the country. On May 24th, he will be inducted into the Ohio Senior Hall of Fame. Next to most of my family, Sam is my favorite Democrat. We meet regularly, and he updates and lobbies me on senior issues. He served on the Washington Local School Board many years back. Sam is a class act and a hard worker as you can read from an article that appeared in the Toledo Blade last summer.
God bless Colleen and Sam.
^ The flowering trees along Langenderfer, smack in the middle of District 5, are starting to bloom creating a spring canopy for motorists. Drive down (slowly please) some day soon.
Things I Find Interesting...
The average age of our water pipes that serve 500,000 people is 74 years.
The city averages more than 300 water main breaks a year.
Looking for consumer help? Click here for a link to the Federal Trade Commission web site.
Want to stop annoying calls from telemarketers? Click here for the Do Not Call Registry.
Worried about identity theft? Click here for more information on protecting yourself.
Outdoor recreation generates $17.4 billion in consumer spending every year in Ohio. It accounts for 196,000 jobs in the state.
357 push/talk AT&T cell phones will cost the city $235,977.
Find us on Facebook for updates between newsletters.