36 tax issues await Valley voters

By David Skolnick

and Samantha Phillips



Mahoning County voters will consider 14 proposed tax issues while Trumbull County will have 22 during the Nov. 5 election.

One issue that failed to make the ballot is a Youngstown school 10.7-mill, four-year renewal levy to raise $5,291,410 annually.

The school board met Wednesday afternoon for a required vote to get the issue on the fall ballot, but because it couldn’t get a majority vote it won’t appear.

Four of seven members attended the meeting with president Brenda Kimble and vice president Michael Murphy voting yes and Jackie Adair and Dario Hunter voting no.

Wednesday was the deadline in Ohio for issues and nonpartisan candidates to file with county boards of elections.

Murphy, who’s not seeking re-election to the board after serving for 12 years, brushed off the failure to get the tax levy on the ballot.

“It will be alright as there will be enough time to get it on the ballot next year,” he said.

The current levy doesn’t expire until the beginning of 2021, he added.

In a statement, Hunter said: “We are a city in poor financial circumstances, not just at City Hall but around family dinner tables all across the city. I cannot in good conscience ask the citizens of this city to aid and abet the financial mismanagement of the Youngstown City School District.”

As for why he’s not running for re-election, Murphy said he’s retiring from his job at the city water department and had previously decided that when he did that, he would also stop serving on the board.

Among the 14 proposed tax issues in Mahoning County is a 2.4-mill, five-year renewal for the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, also known as the Reuben McMillan Free Library Association. It’s the largest levy for the ballot – it would raise $9,807,265 annually – and the only one that is countywide.

The county elections board will meet Tuesday to certify issues and candidates to the ballot as well as potentially disqualify those who had issues with their petitions.

Among the other proposed issues for the ballot is a 2-mill bond issue in Struthers to raise $2 million for the construction of a new fire station on Elm Street, near the current station, and a 0.5-percent income tax for West Branch School District to raise $850,000 that voters there rejected in May as well as November 2018.

The community with the most issues for consideration on the November ballot is Beaver Township with three. Boardman and Springfield Township each have two issues.

There are competitive trustee races in half of the county’s 14 townships.

In Austintown, Doug Mc-Glynn, who was appointed last year to a vacant trustee position, isn’t seeking election. Those filing to succeed him are: Ron Verb, a WKBN AM radio talk-show host; ex-Youngstown Councilman Michael Rapovy; former county Commissioner David Engler, who currently sits on the county educational service center board; Poland Township police officer Steve Kent; and Bruce Shepas, who unsuccessfully ran for trustee in 2013 and 2015.

Verb said he has no intention of quitting his job at the radio station, and may withdraw from the ballot if rules from the Federal Communications Commission, which oversees the public airwaves, become an issue.

One possible issue is known as the “equal-time rule,” which requires radio and television broadcast stations to give the same amount of time to opposing candidates who request it.

Verb said he has “a little time for the company to look into the regulations” to determine if he can remain a candidate, should he be certified by the elections board. Verb also said he has the “blessing of the station” to run for the seat.

In Boardman, Trustee Larry Moliterno is facing three challengers – Jason Pavone, Tracie Balentine and Tabitha Fitz-Patrick.

In Canfield, Trustee Joe Paloski is being challenged by Emilio Sebastiani, while Poland Trustee Eric Ungaro faces Ricky Morrison, who unsuccessfully ran for trustee two years ago.

There are seven competitive races in the county’s 15 school districts.

There are four seats up for election in the Youngstown school district with Murphy and Corrine Sanderson, serving her first four-year term, opting not to seek re-election. Sanderson is running as an independent candidate for the 5th Ward seat on Youngstown City Council.

Kimble and Hunter, who is also seeking the Green Party nomination for president of the United States next year, are seeking re-election.

There are five other candidates running for the city school board: Barbara Brothers, a former dean of Youngstown State University’s College of Arts and Sciences and a ex-member of the city school’s academic distress commission, along with Tiffany D. Patterson, Juanita Walker, Alice Marshall and Patrick O’Leary.

Nia Simms filed as a write-in for a school board seat. Aug. 26 is the filing deadline for write-in candidates.

There are also seven candidates running for three seats on the Poland school board.

In Austintown, Dr. David Ritchie, who is serving his 52nd year on the school board, and Harold Porter, finishing his first term, filed for re-election, while Kimberly A. Smrek, who lost a 2017 race for the school board, also turned in petitions for the two seats.

“We’ve gone through a lot of turmoil and unrest, and I think we’re on the right path with a new superintendent and a new treasurer,” Dr. Ritchie said. “They’ll bring Austintown schools back to what we were.”

In Trumbull County, voters will consider 22 tax issues during the election, including a county renewal levy for senior citizens’ services and two Girard levies.

The county will have a 0.75-mill, five-year renewal for providing or maintaining senior citizens services or facilities that will generate $2,469,439 if approved. The countywide 0.6-mill, 10-year renewal levy for the metropolitan district for parks and recreational purposes will generate $2,008,022 if approved.

The 0.4-mill continuous additional levy for Warren-Trumbull County Public Library will cover the library’s current expenses. If approved, it will generate $985,172 annually.

Girard is the only Trumbull County city with two levies on the ballot. The 1.2-mill, five-year renewal for garbage collection and disposal of garbage or refuse will generate $62,247 annually if approved. The other 3-mill, five-year renewal is for fire protection and will generate $324,074 annually is approved.

In Hubbard Township, fiscal officer Sue Goterba is being challenged by Jennifer Evans. Frederick Hanley, township chairman, is running unopposed.

In Liberty, Trustee Jodi Stoyak, who has been a trustee since January 2004, faces a challenge by Atty. Devon Stanley and Jason Masternick.