Why I write letters
Over the past couple of years, I have had the privilege to have some of my letters published in The Beacon.
First, I thank the Beacon for publishing those letters. Since the Towne Crier just publishes meeting minutes, and apparently not “Letters To The Editor”, The Beacon is the only local newspaper that allows ordinary citizens to speak their mind.
I have some real problems with the way that the village that I call home, is moving. In my opinion, “change” can be good, but it can also be bad. The “bad” started with the Ohio EPA “mandating” that Baltimore construct a new sewer plant. The original cost estimate was $5 million. I do not blame village council for this expenditure, as the EPA told them “you will build it, or we will build it, and either way, you will pay for it”. I was at the council meeting when the EPA delivered that message.
What I do not understand is why we did away with the Board of Public Affairs, adding the “big spending” position of Village Administrator. The Ohio Revised Code allows for either position. The first two Village Administrator’s were “part time,” and the spending did not start with them.
The appointment of Marsha Hall in 2204 as Village Administrator Hall started the flood of regulations, ordinances and spending. When she started our total debt was $ 734, 718, not including the cost of the new sewer plant and she wasn’t responsile for it.
Spending took off when she arrived. First, we hired a “full time” Police Chief and in 2011, that position cost taxpayers $ 74,929.06 in wages and benefits. Baltimore has had several police chiefs over the years, but never at that cost. We all know what happened with the police...Baltimore could not afford to operate what they had put in place, and asked residents for more taxes to pay for it. Voters rejected that idea. Several “projects” were started to prepare Baltimore for the “growth” that has avoided us since the 1960’s. By the end of 2011, our debt ohad increased from $ 734,718 to $ 8,705.557.00. When you allow for the cost of the sewer plant, our debt increased by somewhere near $ 3,000,000.
Village Administrator Hall cannot be held totally responsible for the additional debt because without the support of Mayor Kalish and the six “AYE” voters on council, this spending would likely not have occurred. Meanwhile, Hall was paid quite well....2004 thru 2011....$ 669,040 in wages and benefits.
Present Village Administrator Brown started with an “estimated” $ 75,906.22 in wages and benefits. Nice work, if you can get it. Many citizens in Baltimore “struggle” to pay their water/sewer bills, while two Village Administrators go home with huge paychecks.
Mayor Kalish, if your dream of “growth” does ever come here, we better not build “low income” dwellings, we need to grow like New Albany so that we will have more people that can afford to pay the monthly water/sewer bill. Since you have alienated the Village of Thurston, do you really think that the loss of water sales to them, and the loss of that estimated $ 9,000 per month won’t hurt Baltimore’s finances.
Village Council has given a “no limit” credit card to the Village Administrators, and I believe our debt will increase thanks to the the “St. Rt. 256 E corridor project.”
When was the last time we had any major street repairs ? Apparently we have applied for a “grant” to do some repairs. What happened to the income tax revenue that used to go to the streets? My guess is that those outrageous salaries paid to Village Administrators, was being supplemented by our Income Tax.
If you are concerned about your water/sewer bills, and paying for an “unused” water tap, and multiple water meters when there was only one before, remember who allowed this to happen. Next election, say “goodbye” to our Village Council members and mayor. Maybe we can elect a council and mayor that won’t wear “rose colored” glasses and allow a non-resident to pile on more and more debt. Baltimore is a small village and is likely to remain one. It is time our leaders understand that fact.
I also wonder why no one from the village administration has ever responded to my letters or pointed out where I am wrong. I guess they think that I am a “lone wolf” that no one takes me seriously.
Charles R. Lamb