STEUBENVILLE - City officials are hoping voters continue a nearly 50-year tradition and support the renewal of the 5-mill real estate levy.
"This levy renewal was first initiated in the early 1960s and has been renewed every five years since it was first offered to our city voters for their consideration.
The levy has been and remains based on real estate valuations from the early 1960s," explained City Manager Cathy Davison.
"This levy raises $575,000 a year for the city's general fund and accounts for approximately 5 percent of the general fund budget," said Davison.
"A majority of the general fund budget is used for our public safety forces. For this levy renewal not to pass would be very detrimental for the city. If the levy is not approved we would have to start looking at cutting services. That is obviously not something we really want to consider. We are continuing to look at efficiencies in our operations and at the same time provide the services our residents have come to expect," she added.
"This is not a new levy. This is not a new tax and not an increase in existing taxes," emphasized Mayor Domenick Mucci.
"The City Council and city administration have gone to great lengths to build a collaboration with other government agencies that has enhanced our fiscal stability. Through that collaboration we have added Pottery Addition to our sanitary sewer system and we have successfully worked with the Jefferson County commissioners to create a new countywide port authority. And we hope to see more collaborative efforts in the future," Mucci said.
"We have been spending the city's money very wisely. Passage of the levy renewal or Issue 3 will allow the city to continue making progress," Mucci noted.
Mucci is scheduled to deliver a state of the city address at 7 p.m. today prior to a City Council meeting at Eastern Gateway Community College.
"I will be discussing the various activities and accomplishments in the city and will detail the work in each department," said Mucci
A regular City Council meeting will follow the mayor's speech at 7:30 p.m.
"All city residents are encouraged to attend the state of the city address that evening and then urged to stay for the council meeting to see how city government works," noted Mucci.
"One of the strong points in our local government is the transparency of our City Council and administration. People appreciate the fact the council is in tune with the community," remarked Mucci.
"People understand and support what our city is doing. City services are there when the residents need those services. Our city maintenance staff has been trimmed to the bare minimum. If we have to look at future cuts in services, unfortunately we will be looking at our recreation, building, engineering and public health services," stated Davison.
"These are exciting times for our city. We are seeing the benefits of collaboration with the county and the Visitors Center as well as the benefits from our economic partnerships with Progress Alliance and the new Jefferson County Port Authority. We are making strong moves into the future," said Davison.
(Gossett can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)