Voters in Summit County will decide whether tax levies should be renewed for the Metro Parks, the Akron Zoo, and the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board when they head to the polls Nov. 5.
Metro Parks, Serving Summit County is asking residents to renew a seven-year, 1.46-mill levy which, if passed, will continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $44.71 per year. It would begin collecting in 2014 and would generate $15.8 million per year.
The levy, which funds the operation and development of the district's many parks and trails, "is a renewal of what voters approved in 2006," said Nathan Eppink, chief of marketing and communications for Metro Parks. "It is not a new tax, and it's not an increase. It's the only local levy that funds the day-to-day maintenance of the 14 parks, 125 miles of trails and great programs and events that are enjoyed by more than 5 million people each year."
The Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board will have a six-year, 2.95-mill renewal levy on the ballot this fall. First passed in 2007, the levy raises about $33 million per year, "which accounts for a little over 75 percent of our operating budget," said Gerald Craig, executive director of the Summit County ADM Board. It would continue to cost about $90 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
The board, which contracts with about 26 outside agencies to provide treatment and prevention services to around 50,000 county residents, has reduced its staff from 27 to 20 employees in the past six years, Craig said. "We've managed to hold our costs pretty steady," he said.
The Akron Zoo is requesting voters renew a seven-year, .8-mill tax levy for capital and operating expenses. The renewal levy would continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $23 a year. According to the levy's website, passage "will allow the zoo to continue the same exceptional care for its animals and to keep adding new exhibits, animals, educational programs and services."
"Since our first levy in 2000, the zoo has expanded from 33 exhibits to 55 exhibits," said David Barnhardt, director of marketing and guest services for the zoo. "Each year over 24,000 school kids visit the zoo on field trips and we do almost 900 educational programs. The renewal of this levy and feedback from the community will help us to continue these up-close, educational and fun experiences."
Also on Nov. 5, three seats on the five-member governing board of the Summit County Educational Service Center are up for election. Current members Alyce Simmons Altwies of Cuyahoga Falls, Susan Lobalzo of Akron and Dow O. Wolfe of Akron will seek to defend their seats against challengers Ashley E. Dusseau Carr of Akron, Timothy R. Gallagher of Richfield and Patricia F. Weber of Akron. The top three vote-getters will begin four-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
School districts served by the Summit County ESC include Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson, Nordonia Hills, Stow-Munroe Falls, Tallmadge, Twinsburg and Woodridge.