The President's Corner
Recently, Parma City Council approved and Mayor Timothy DeGeeter signed Resolution 108-19: “A RESOLUTION DETERMINING TO PROCEED WITH THE LEVY OF A PROPERTY TAX FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSTRUCTION, RECONSTRUCTION, RESURFACING AND REPAIR OF THE CITY OF PARMA’S STREETS, ROADS AND BRIDGES, AND TO SUBMIT THE QUESTION OF THE TAX TO THE ELECTORS AT THE NOVEMBER 5, 2019, ELECTION.” This resolution will appear as Issue 53 on your November ballot. If the issue passes, the owner of a $100,000 home will contribute about $53 per year – less than $4.50 per month – for street improvements in our city. The 1.5 mil, 5-year renewable levy would raise about $2.2 million dollars per year, which must be used exclusively on streets.
Parma has over 500 miles of streets and the city finding it challenging to maintain them properly due to state funding cuts over the past decade that have taken tens of millions of dollars from our budget. Although we have been able to pass balanced budgets each year and have received excellent audits from the state auditor, we are lucky if we can pave two streets per year per ward. In fact, our streets program has been supplemented largely by borrowing. We are at the point where it would not be prudent to take on further debt for streets. This levy would supplement our efforts to address our aging and increasing infrastructure needs, especially in light of the rising costs of construction and the failure of Congress to pass a comprehensive infrastructure bill to assist cities like Parma.
For less than the cost of one visit to the coffee shop per month, the streets levy would translate into benefits to all residents, including improved property values, quality of life, driving conditions, and safety. Further, a study of property taxes for the typical homeowner throughout Cuyahoga County revealed that Parma ranks 59th out of 72 communities – among the lowest. Furthermore, the City of Parma receives only about 8.5% of our property taxes, while the lion’s share goes to the libraries, Metroparks, schools, county, etc. This is an unsustainable funding formula if we want to ensure quality infrastructure in our community.
My wife Deena and I decided to raise our family in Parma because of the excellent services, safety, comparatively low taxes, law-abiding and caring residents, and excellent location. We recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary and have never once regretted the decision we made. As your President of Council, I fight every day to fulfill my oath to you – to always do what I believe in my heart and mind is in our city’s best long-term interests. It is an honor to serve you. Please join me in voting “YES” on Issue 53 on November 5. Best wishes for a wonderful fall season.
Parma City Council President Sean Brennan