2009-06-06 / Editorials & Letters

Wells says get out the soap for Thompson

Editor:

Buckeye Lake Village Council voted to turn off our street lights on June 30 because that's what the residents want, so they say. The Beacon reported that Council member Drew Bourne said, at the May 25 council meeting, turning off the lights was "the voter's choice." If that's how council interprets a "no" vote on taxes, why didn't they close down the police department after the last two OVERWHELMING defeats of the police levy?

According to the Board of Elections, the street levy lost by ONLY 10 votes (82 to 92). The last two police levies lost by a margin of nearly 2 to 1. In 2008, the police levy failed by 253 votes (367 to 620) or 63%. In 2004, the police levy failed by 359 votes (384 to 743) or 66%. Very few voters turned out for May's election, but council has decided that only 10 residents will decide the fate of our street lights! The number of voters at the November general elections for the police levies were significantly higher: 987 voters in 2008 and 1,127 voting in 2004. In 2006, 736 voters went to the polls in November for a general operating levy that was defeated by 308 votes (214 to 522) or 71%.

It's interesting that council listens to 10 voters, but weren't moved at all by 250 to 350! Voters have tried for years to send a message: SHOW US…WHY we should spend more tax dollars! Make do with what you have! Demonstrate better management and training! Hundreds of voters have communicated these messages again and again with no response from the village. But, now, with only a tiny turnout at the polls and a mere difference of 10 votes, THIS is how council answers-- turning off the lights! They blame the residents instead of taking responsibility.

Council had three chances to put this levy on the ballot starting in November 2007, but they waited until the third and final opportunity (November 2008). Finance Chair Hilde Hildabrandt does a lot of talking but can't seem to take the proper action when it's needed. It's likely the outcome could have been much different.

One council member is so disrespectful; I think you'll agree she needs her mouth washed out with soap! At the May 6 Safety Committee meeting, Council member Donna Thompson had plenty to say about shutting off the lights. Thompson said, "Shut 'em off! Let them know what its like when it's dark out here. It's just like the police levy; (everyone) knows if the levy don't pass, they keep on workin'. It's like when your Momma says she's goin' beat your ass, but she never does it! You can take horse shit and you can dust it all you want in powdered sugar, but it still ain't a jelly donut! That's what you gotta tell 'em……you gotta SHOW 'em!" (end of quote) This meeting was tape recorded.

At the May 25 council meeting, Mayor Frank Foster said, "The reality is, we have no choice." I disagree. Turning off the street lights doesn't make economic sense. As reported in The Beacon, "Borne said it will cost the village about $3,400 for American Electric Power to disconnect the streetlights and the village will continue to pay a $600 monthly service fee for six months afterward. It will cost another $3,400 to reconnect the lights should a future streetlight levy pass. The monthly charge to power the village's streetlights is roughly $1,600." This means that the village is willing to pay out $7,000 over the next six months to turn the lights out plus another $3,400 to turn them back on totaling $10,400 instead of continuing to pay $1,600 a month ($9,600 total) to keep the lights - not a savings but a LOSS of $800 (assuming another levy will pass.)

In the meantime, council will have caused a lot of grief for residents, not to mention our safety services and other area departments that provide mutual aid. And, they will have created a great number of unhappy voters who will hopefully GET OUT THEIR BAR OF SOAP come November!

Peggy Wells Buckeye Lake

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