The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

May 8, 2014

Levy results bring relief to Conneaut, North Kingsville

CONNEAUT — Officials in Conneaut and North Kingsville were beaming at the support given levies in those communities in Tuesday’s primary election.

Driving in North Kingsville will be smoother, thanks to the success of an income tax hike that will generate between $50,000 and $75,000 annually for road and culvert maintenance. Village voters approved a .3 percent income tax hike by an unofficial 318-235 count.

“I really appreciate everybody voting for it,” Mayor Terry McConnell said Wednesday. “I see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel.”

Publicity given the levy may have finally put it over the top after a handful of failed attempts, McConnell said.

“I think the word got out,” he said. “I’m really proud of North Kingsville.”

Conneaut voters, meanwhile, approved a five-year, additional 1.5-mill levy for the city fire department and a five-year, 1.9-mill operating levy for the Conneaut Public Library. The fire levy will raise $90,000 more a year than the 1-mill issue it will replace, and the funds will be used for operations, officials said.

Fire Chief Steve Lee was grateful for the support. “Thanks to all for supporting the levy,” he said.

There are no shortage of uses for the additional revenue, Lee said. A new pumper truck to replace a high-mileage, 1996 vehicle and an ambulance upgrade are priorities, he said. Turnout gear for firefighters and computer gear are also in the mix, Lee said.

“We have a lot of needs,” Lee said. “(The levy) won’t cover it all but it will definitely help.”

The fire levy collected more than 57 percent of the unofficial votes (986-743).

A few blocks from Fire Station 1, employees at the Conneaut Public Library were celebrating post-Election Day. “(The victory) has rejuvenated my opinion of the city of Conneaut and my optimism for Ashtabula County,” said Kathy Pape, executive director.

The margin of victory was slim (an unofficial 886-847 result). The measure was the first operating levy for the library in recent memory, and the $350,000 it will raise annually will be used for a variety of purposes, Pape said.

Furnishings on hand when the library opened in 1998 need to be repaired or replaced, Pape said. Also, the building is starting to show its age and a new roof must be considered, she said.

“Cosmetically, people will notice changes,” Pape said. “We might move some things around and rethink our layout.”

Money could also be used for employee training and the support the children’s department, which now exists solely through donations, fundraisers and sponsorships. “Our library thrives because of the children’s department,” Pape said.

Revenue raised through the levy will help replace money lost over the years through government funding cuts, Pape said. “A lot will be used to supplement what’s been taken away,” she said.

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