Pulling the curtain back on her feelings for this newspaper's editor
To the editor:
Once again the all-powerful Oz just doesn't get the big picture. Maybe it is time the editor of the Salem News steps out from behind his curtain and realizes what life is like for the rest of us little people.
You said that Nathan Walker's challenge to have all politicians take a voluntary drug test was attack politics and nonsense. Mr. Editor, most people have to undergo drug testing as a part of their employee process.
Nathan Walker isn't saying anyone is on drugs. He never said that. That is an unfair implication. The reality is that like in many government offices our county has a crisis of arrogance. Politicians are out of touch and have very little understanding of what regular employees do or how hard they work.
A drug test isn't an accusation. Taking a voluntary drug test is leadership. It demonstrates to the people you work for that you are not better than them. I am disappointed that the editor, a voice of our community, did not see the importance of this gesture.
Let's face it, government can only do so much to fix the problems in our community. Arrogance and disconnect between the people and politics can only be addressed by the people serving in and running for office. Mike Halleck, Nathan Walker, Nancy Milliken, etc., taking a drug test doesn't cost taxpayers money and is a strong gesture of goodwill and honesty. Not taking it is disrespectful to the people that pay your salaries.
It really is sad that the editor would attack this issue. It seems like time and time again if anybody comes up with a new or different idea in this area it gets batted down by somebody. If you ever want this to be a better town maybe it is time you and other community leaders start thinking about the bigger picture.
Concerned parent of Salem football player expresses his displeasure
To the editor:
As a concerned parent of a Salem football player, I am frustrated seeing the program in disarray. The season hasn't started yet and already there are questions looming from last season as to how and when will the coaching staff be different this year.
We all know the fiasco of the 60-point blowout in which Salem had their head handed to them and yet the head coach would not put second and third string players in to get the experience they need if called upon. My question is "why?" The mindset in Salem is that we need "numbers" and not players who truly want to be out on the field. It was apparent that the parents sitting in the stands were extremely disappointed not seeing their son in the game down by 60. The team needs new leadership from the SYFL (Salem Youth Football League) all the way up to the head coaching position. The SYFL is the starting point for future players for Salem and the kids are not being taught correctly at their level. Some of the drills taught to the youth are putting the kids at risk which seem to be more prevalent in football than most sports.
I have a son in the youth program and it is scary to see how tackling is taught to the young guys. Why are kindergartners, first, second and third-grade kids allowed to be in a sport that is so violent? They can't remember how to tie their shoes right but yet are expected to remember proper form tackling?
Parents of young players please listen to what I am saying. You as a responsible parent know that your young ones should not be out on the field at least until they are in seventh grade perhaps eighth. Your child's bones are still growing and a serious injury to any number of bones may have a substantial impact on their future development not to mention the head injuries suffered across the nation playing football.
Time for a change in the mindset of Salem football and it starts at the top. The head coach should consider resigning his position and Salem should bring in someone who can motivate the team and bring a winning attitude to our Salem program which is applicable to the SYFL as well.
West Branch students and teachers deserve the best voters can give them
To the editor:
The West Branch Local Schools' income tax levy is on all citizens minds, as I read the news articles with activities and volunteers working hard to bring it to the forefront of everyone's information. We are well aware of financial controversies.
As a teacher for 30 years, and now in my golden years with families of grandchildren, I have to retrace the many teachers and students who have successfully reached good years of employment, thanks to a background of sufficient funding that brought them to success. We all are facing financial tough decisions. Ask ourselves, can we support our levy to the amount it needs to maintain our previous level of sufficient funds or choose to do anything less!
Our children's education is as important to them, as was the quality of education we enjoyed. The levy amount is needed and teachers and students deserve the best we can offer.
Just the facts for United voters: You will pay only what you've been paying
To the editor:
Cue the Dragnet theme song; enter Sgt. Joe Friday who says, "Just the facts, Ma'am." Here are the facts about the United Local permanent improvement levy on the May 6 ballot.
It's a renewal levy, first approved in 1984 and approved every five years since then. You'll keep paying what you've been paying. Those residents qualifying for homestead and rollback exemptions on their taxes will still get them since it's a renewal. It can only be used for permanent items with a five-year life span (buses, textbooks, building improvements, etc.), not salaries or benefits.
United schools operate with two kinds of funding; the general fund and the permanent improvement fund. The general fund income is primarily from state aid, federal grants and programs, property taxes, and the income tax. General fund expenditures are for personnel, benefits, supplies, and capital expenditures. About 79 percent of United's general fund expenditures are for employee salaries and benefits. The PI levy (if approved) would generate about $182,000 per year over the next five years.
If the PI levy does not pass, those items paid for by the PI levy will still be needed, so those expenses will have to come from the general fund. And since 79 percent of the general fund expenditures are for employee salaries and benefits, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what would happen.
We have an excellent school district at United in fact the state has recognized our excellence in education for several years now. That's a tribute to our entire staff, not just our teachers and administrators, but also the cooks who prepare nutritious meals, drivers who provide safe transportation, custodians who provide a safe, clean, learning environment, and all the support staff who provide for the smooth operation of our school. A lot of our staff lives in the district; they're our neighbors, friends, and family members. We see them at sporting events, plays, concerts, the grocery store, in church, and at community events.
United has had a fiscally prudent financial planning process for many, many years that has enabled our district to weather numerous federal and state funding cuts, unfunded mandates, and the economic downturn, without sacrificing a quality education for our students. Unlike other schools in the area, United has not any layoffs or reductions in force. We have not been asked to pay for any operating levies for many, many years. In fact, the last "new" money approved by United voters was when the income tax passed in the early 1990s. A good school system is an asset for local property valuations. Ask any real estate person, they can tell you.
Keep our United Local School District the excellent district that it is support the PI levy and keep paying what you've been paying. The future of our excellent school district and the education of our United children depends on it!
These are "just the facts"
A contrasting opinion on the state of the United Local School District
To the editor:
Kudos Mr. Drotleff for your partial response to my letter of March 2014.
Your financial reporting is commendable and no doubt supported by those supplying you with the noted information. Mine, as well came from informants of the school.
The bus situation was as I stated "talk." Just wanted people to know what was out there.
As for the teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and others not receiving raises; my information has come straight from the source. In fact there are those whom have voiced a "thank you" for letting the people know. Since their doing so would cost them their positions in the school.
There was however, no mention of how the financial expense of supplying Viscounte and secretary with cushy air-conditioned offices is benefiting the student body. Yes improvements have been implemented toward the students. But, just how much has been wasted, as in these unnecessary offices.
Why do school districts think they have the right to impose levies and or taxes on their communities; while they sit on the money they have stored in savings accounts?
Thank heavens Mr. Drotleff you did not ramble on about a TV sitcom that has no meaning or reference to the situation before us.
As to a response on another letter: The lunch policy was not mentioned as a P I Project, but as a waste of money, throwing food away. Evidently it needs to be explained this way for some people to understand.
Give thought to this as you decide on how to vote on the United School levy: The increased number of students who are turning to Cyber Schools in place of public schools. Some do so because of increased cases of bullying that schools can't or won't handle, saying it is reported infrequently! Once is too much! Others just do not want to go to school and prefer the computer as a source for education.
In five to six years will there be a need for schools? Will teachers be teaching in front of cameras instead of students? Who can say?
Columbiana County needs to see more revenue from all the drilling
To the editor:
Since the shale boom has come to our area our truck traffic has increased; creating more wear and tear to roads. Our police departments have had to deal with heightened calls regarding issues involving out of state workers. Our rental rates have seen increases as well.
House Bill 375 proposes the lowest rates and most generous provisions for the oil and gas industry of three severance tax proposals considered in Ohio during the past year, it is also one of the lowest in the country.
Columbiana County, being the third most drilled in the state, needs to see more of the revenue than this bill is providing. We need to see more of these monies coming back to our county to deal with these issues.
The other issue is the amount of tax. The governor's proposed rate is 2.75 percent. We need to be comparable with the Texas version. Their rate is at 7.5 percent of market value of gas and Condensate Production Tax is 4.6 percent of market value of gas.
The oil and gas industry says that if we raise the tax they will not drill here. This is just a ploy because they want our shale gas, and it is not going anywhere. We need keep them accountable and make sure the revenues come to us.
Maybe Columbiana Council members should sign up instead for Obamacare
To the editor:
I just read your April 17 article on the City of Columbiana Health Insurance Costs for the 54 person workforce.
According to the information reported, the City of Columbiana paid $1.1 million in total health care costs for the year 2013. That averages out $20,576.13 in health care expense per employee for the year 2013 in the city of Columbiana. That averages out to $1714.66 per month per employee on the health insurance program. That's a lot of health insurance expense, especially when you consider how many workers are under 35 work for the city and appear relatively healthy. The sick ones go on sick leave, and get paid.
Why are they so sick in Columbiana? Does the city water have an odor to it. It must, because this all stinks to the taxpayers of Columbiana. A fair portion of the taxpayers don't earn $1714.66 in a month as income, more less including paying for their own health insurance for their family.
Councilman Simpson needs to retire, I thought he did that 12 years ago when he "retired" as mayor. He is just trying to create a divide in Columbiana that we don't want or need.
What us taxpayers want, however, is accountability on how our tax dollars are spent. $21,000 per employee for health care in 2013? How long could you afford it?
I have an idea. The city makes an offer to all employees as follows: Upon hiring by the city, we will pay $700 per employee, per month for health insurance. Go to Obamacare and buy your own plan. You pay the difference if it exceeds $700 per month. Otherwise, sorry, we will have to keep looking for another candidate.
Simply doing that would reduce health care costs paid by the city to $453,000 per year. 54 employees times $700 per month is $8400 per year, per employee, or a grand total of $453,600 in city health care expenses compared to $1.1 million in 2013.
With the savings, maybe we taxpayers could get a break for a change. Plenty of private sector companies do this. I challenge the council to tell me why that won't work.