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OUR READERS WRITE...

November 3, 2013
Salem News

State rep disagrees with Newbold's contention

To the editor:

In a recent letter to the editor, Craig Newbold referred to the Homestead Exemption as a "government program."

He opined that senior citizens making more than $30,000 per year do not need this important tax relief. I disagree. The Homestead Exemption has become popular and successful tax relief to help senior citizens remain in their homes during their tender years.

Now, because of legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by the governor, many seniors who are not already eligible will be denied this tax relief that they might have been counting on. This amounts to a tax increase on seniors of more than $400 per year on average.

The fact is that our neighbors who are 65 and older tend to live on a fixed income, without the ability to earn more to meet the increasing costs of food, fuel and medication. Some have paid for their homes and have paid taxes on their property for many years. Now, when they need tax relief the most, the state has taken it away.

Most egregious is the way that the tax increase was snuck into the budget at the last minute without hearings and without debate. Our constituents did not have the opportunity to weigh in on how this tax increase would affect their lives.

Furthermore, there was no evidence taken as to what an appropriate income threshold would be. The arbitrary figure of $30,000 became the standard. Why? Simply holding public hearings on the measure would have, at least, provided a chance to find out if there is a more appropriate income level at which to cut off the tax relief. Sadly, that never happened.

Obviously, Mr. Newbold believes that this is a good way to make public policy. I do not. I think the citizens we serve ought to have the right to weigh in on the laws we consider. That is why I am proud to be the primary sponsor of House Bill 267.

That bill will restore the tax relief under the Homestead Exemption to ALL seniors. The bill has bi-partisan support, yet the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to give it a hearing. If they will allow an open and honest debate on the bill, I will testify for its passage. If Mr. Newbold wants to come to Columbus and testify against it, he has that right.

NICK BARBORAK,

State representative,

Fifth House District

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Candidate disputes letter writer's statements

To the editor:

This letter is in reply to the false accusations made in a letter in last Sunday's Salem News. The author of the letter stated that I "voted " to raise taxes three times while I was mayor. This is not a true statement. The mayor has no authority to impose any tax, or to vote to put any tax on the ballot. That decision and authority is given solely by law to Salem City Council, not the mayor.

My duty as mayor was to provide information and suggestions to city council concerning the state of Salem's economic condition and general welfare for their consideration.

Last week's letter is nothing more than a dirty political tactic used by some to degrade others. They try to place a negative perception of a candidate in your mind.

Since this matter has been brought up, I hope that you will look at the facts of the matter and not the "political spin" that some would have you believe.

When I became mayor in 2008, Salem was in a deep economic recession. The industrial base had eroded and was getting worse. The street program was in bad shape, and even city hall was in need of major repair. As an elected public servant, I felt it was my duty to find out the facts of the city's economic status and provide much needed information to city council, along with proposals to deal with the recession in Salem. I believe that the people of Salem had the right to the facts and should be given the right to vote, accepting or rejecting any of the proposals that Salem City Council might put on the ballot.

My role as mayor was to propose, for council's consideration and action, what could be done in Salem to provide the level of services that the public expected and deserved. My duty as mayor was not to sit idly by while the city fell into disrepair. I had been elected to do something about the situation we were facing. No one, including myself, likes to pay any more taxes than is needed. I believe that the citizens had the right to decide for themselves what quality and level of city services they wanted and were willing to support. When they voted to reject the tax issues that city council had put on the ballot, I accepted their decision.

Rather than doing nothing because of the effects of the recession on the city's financial status, we did accomplish the following projects without a tax increase:

1. The completion of the East Pershing Street extension to the Walmart area.

2. Dredging Buttermilk Run storm water drainage to reduce city flooding.

3. Paved downtown East State Street and installed new signalization.

4. Re-established the Salem Board of Health.

5. Brought new industry into Salem. We even left the new city administration a very substantial financial carry-over balance to begin their term in office.

These accomplishments aren't perceptions, They are facts!

Now that you have the documented facts of my record as mayor and not false accusations about tax issues, I hope you will factually consider my public service record and the records of all of the candidates running for Perry Township trustee. Once again, you the voter, have the opportunity and duty to choose who will best represent you and the township. I sincerely hope that you will base your decision on facts and not on the dirty political perceptions that were expressed in last week's letter.

I believe in public service, not politics. How about you?

JERRY WOLFORD,

Salem

Candidate for

Perry Township trustee

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Writes in support of Perry Township trustee

To the editor:

As a citizen of both Perry Township and the city of Salem, I would like to say a few words concerning the upcoming election.

I feel that there has been negativity expressed, by a few, regarding the present leadership of Perry Township targeting, in particular, Don Rudibaugh. I believe most of the criticism has come from those within the city and not the whole of Perry Township. I am not writing this letter to retaliate in any way. I just thought that a few facts should be brought to light.

During Mr. Rudibaugh's tenure, which began with his election four years ago, Perry Township has purchased a new fire truck, new backhoe, two police cruisers (one new, one used), thus, keeping the fleet of police vehicles up-to-date. As well, a new road truck was added. All of this was accomplished without borrowing funds. Most importantly, Perry Township has remained fiscally sound.

Perry Township provides its citizens with protection by maintaining a full-time police force (one of three in Columbiana County on the township level), an affordable volunteer fire department and there is low employee turnover. As well, they do a great job of snow removal during the winter months. The township also provides an annual spring clean-up and leaf pick up, as well as, tire drives to help its citizens keep their properties maintained.

Of course, Mr. Rudibaugh, as one trustee, did not achieve these accomplishments on his own and does not work alone. Perry Township is run by a group of dedicated individuals who take the interest of their citizens seriously. They work together to find the most efficient and most affordable way to execute the tasks at hand.

On a personal level, Mr. Rudibaugh is well known for his honesty and dedication to any job he has ever performed and, with his expertise in the banking industry, he has the ability to successfully manage the township's funds.

With all of this being said, what I do not understand is why anyone would be negative toward Mr. Rudibaugh with so many positive achievements having been made for Perry Township during his time in office. It is obvious to me that Perry Township is a better place with Don Rudibaugh as a trustee.

The statistical information provided in this letter is of public record and can be accessed by anyone who is interested in obtaining it.

MICHAEL PRASCO,

Salem

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Chained CPI benefit cut would hurt veterans

To the editor:

As a veteran, I would like to wish all the veterans in our community a happy Veterans Day and thank them for their service it keeps our country safe and secure. I served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-1972.

As our elected representatives discuss balancing the national budget, I think it is prudent to point out that the chained CPI benefit cut to Social Security and veterans' benefits is an unnecessary cut that disrespects the people who made our country great.

About 9.3 million veterans received Social Security benefits in 2009. Cuts to Social Security through the chained CPI benefit cut would hurt those veterans, not to mention vets who receive Veterans Pension benefits, Veterans Disability Compensation, and others who receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. All of these programs are unjustly targeted by the chained CPI benefit cut.

I join the numerous groups representing veterans, including the Ohio Alliance for Retired Americans, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, in opposing the chained CPI which would affect veterans' programs and Social Security. I urge you and Congressman Tim Ryan and Congressman Bill Johnson to do the same.

JOHN R. DYCE,

Hanoverton

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Hoping that voters back West Branch levy

To the editor:

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, voters in the West Branch community will be asked to decide a very important issue. It is the West Branch School District income tax levy, and for the following reasons, I hope it passes.

An income tax school levy is fair. It is based solely on an individual's ability to pay. Please note that Social Security is not subject to this tax.

West Branch currently educates children for $9,015 per student. This is $1,585 less than the state average of $10,600 per student. I think our children deserve better than this. After all, they are our future.

For the past five years, West Branch has consistently earned the state's top ranking of "Excellent" or "Excellent with Distinction." This year the state report card converted to an A to F ranking system and West Branch proudly earned an "A." If West Branch hopes to continue this excellence adequate funding must be secured.

Remember, a positive vote for the West Branch school levy is a positive vote for the future. I hope you'll join me on Nov. 5 by voting "yes."

KIM LEWIS,

Alliance

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Thinks perhaps fire district on an agenda

To the editor:

This had been bothering me for a long time. And I was glad to read last week that someone actually addressed the issue of Salem residents running for Perry Township positions. Even being able to vote on township issues. While leaving Perry residents floundering around like they have a say in anything.

I contacted the county board of elections and they explained to me that Salem is surrounded by Perry Township. Therefore they have a right to vote on their issues and run for their trustee positions. But does Perry really surround Salem anymore? With all these annexations I'm seeing holes all over this claim. Makes one wonder what exactly these Salem residents have in mind if they take over the township seats? Mmmmm... Sounds like the fire district once again.

DAN BOWERS,

Salem

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America must return to 'We the People'

To the editor:

Winston Churchill once said, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." Whether you fall upon the left or right wing on the eagle of freedom this quote speaks to you.

Democracy is very unique when compared to other forms of government, because it is the only form of government that is run by the population as a whole. As a whole we pay taxes, as whole we elect representatives and as a whole we reside under the wings of freedom.

The word "whole" is normally a term used for a collective society but when it comes to democracy the whole is made up of individuals and their right to choose. Individualism sometimes creates adversity and discord between family, friends, and the day to day people we meet however the diversity of views creates the best chance of obtaining a matter of right.

Because of the individual making up the whole of the population democracy creates a form of government where the people are held responsible. In a democracy the people do not work for the government, the government works for them by securing the rights of the individual. With each government bailout, along with the new health care reform bill our nation strays away from democracy. We must take back and embrace "We the People" for this great nation is on a road to serfdom as it paves the way toward "We the government." For when and if that day comes, America will no longer be a democracy.

TYLER FREELAND,

Lisbon

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Area schools should make like Lowellville HS

To the editor:

Congratulations to Lowellville High School which observed, "Red Ribbon Week" with speakers attesting to the risks of alcohol and drug abuse. The first speaker, Matt, said alcohol helped him be part of the "cool group,"and that he never would have started as it lead to a $20,000 a year drinking habit down the road. Plus two DUI convictions and $10,000 in additional court costs and fines.

The next speaker, Aaron, shared his story that he was scared and insecure while growing up and turned to alcohol for confidence he needed to dance, or to talk to girls. In 1999 while drunk he ran a red light killing a 27-year-old woman. He spent the next nine years in a state prison. Today his life has changed and he wanted to share his story with the high school students warning them to be careful.

The third speaker, Susan, shared her story of alcohol and drug addiction telling students her problems began in high school and followed her to college. She said alcohol made her feel more comfortable and taller and prettier. It was a way to make others like her. Susan's grades suffered, she wrecked cars, and got into bar fights.

I hope other schools in the tri-county area bring in speakers and have programs that show the damage alcohol and drugs do to people. In today's Hollywood culture that we find ourselves in, it is tough being a good parent. It takes hard work and dedication in not being your child's friend, but a good parent. Most of us have been truly blessed with wonderful parents, thank God, and that's where it has to start. If the students can see the damage done to the young and old by these drugs they can achieve their dreams and make it. Our young people's future depends on it.

BOB SHILLING,

Salem

 
 

 

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