Over that past several months, the Suffield Township Board of Trustees have talked about how the Local Government Fund would distribute state funds to each of the political subdivisions in Portage County. Our trustees appointed Tom Calcei to be the point man on this important adventure. Calcei has joined with trustee Jack Groselle of Hiram Township and trustee Mike Kostensky of Brimfield Township to form a committee to represent the townships in their quest for a more fair approach to the distribution of about $3,722,533 (2017's total amount) that the State of Ohio releases to Portage County. In Portage County there are eighteen townships, four cities, six villages, and, of course, the county itself. Each of these twenty-nine governmental entities gets a slice of that $3,722,533 pie.
For the past ten years, Portage County has received about 39.8% of the money, which is essentially money that the State of Ohio collected in sales taxes and partially returns to local governments, county-by-county. The townships equally split 14.34% of the money, thus each township got $29,487, or about .79%. The four cities got 37.12% and the the villages got 8.74%. The City of Kent got the yeoman's share by collecting $742,774. (click here to see the funding chart for 2017's Local Government Funds)
How these funds are distributed come under the direction of the Portage County Office of the Budget Commission. This commission is made up of three members: Portage County Treasurer Brad Cromes, Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito and Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci. The commission is to hold hearings during the first half of 2018 with the various subdivision classifications and then make a decision on how to divide the money in each of the next ten years, beginning in 2019. Naturally, the various groups have different ideas on how to spread the wealth. All eighteen of the townships have signed off on a plan that would give each township, city and village $15,000, and would then divide the remainder of the available funds according to population. Based on this plan, Suffield Township would benefit by about $60,000 annually.
In the meantime, the meetings and conversation has continued. Last Sunday (November 19th) the editorial staff of the Record Courier published an editorial suggesting essentially that the funding method remain unchanged. (click here to read that editorial) In response to that editorial, Tom Calcei has written a response, which is supposed to be published in the Record Courier next weekend. (click here to read this response)
Sixty thousand dollars to a lot of money to anyone, even a township.