Elyria, Ohio – Five months into the new county administration new county administrator, Tom Williams, has the boldness to put tax levies on the agenda. When the taxpayer hears tax levy, the logical assumption is “Now how do they want to spend more of MY money?” However, in this case while Mr. Williams is asking for more money for the coroner and crime lab, at the same time he is reporting that the TB Clinic can operate on less money and is recommending a levy with a REDUCTION in funding.
Current funding for the coroner comes from the General Fund. The crime lab gets its money from the Drug Task Force and as needed some from the General Fund. The .30 mill additional tax levy would reduce the need for GF money.
Regarding the crime lab Mr. Williams reported that the lab is run by a qualified staff, but the lab is not “certified” due to the equipment that they currently are unable to afford. Thus, much of the needed work has to be sent out to other counties to be done.
With a tax increase
- The lab would be moved out of the basement and the director would get a window!
- With the purchase of new equipment the lab could be certified and work done in house
- Expanded services would include running, at a parent’s request, drug tests on their teenage children.
The coroner currently works out of a facility in Orville. With a .30 additional tax for five years
- The currently unoccupied former Columbia Gas building could be renovated and become the coroner’s Lorain County new office
- A freezer which the coroner has requested could be purchased
After extended questioning Commissioner Moore was able to get Administrator Williams to admit that he did not have the coroner’s commitment that he even wanted to move to Lorain County.
Commissioner Lundy asked who would be campaigning for this levy. Mr. Williams said ALL elected officials would need to be on board, but nothing was said that at this time any effort has been made to get their commitment. Mr. Lundy said the voters would need to know that the extra money is needed to run these offices not that the commissioners just want more tax money.
If the levy is to be placed on the November ballot, it doesn’t need to be filed with the Board of Elections until August. Thus, the issue was tabled. In the mean time Mr. Williams was directed to have further discussion with the coroner to get his recommendation for asking for the extra money.
According to Mr. Williams the TB Clinic account is “healthy” and can handle a small reduction from 19 cents per month per $100,000 valuation to 17.5 cents. Commissioner Lundy reported that currently the TB Clinic operates on around $400,000 annually. The levy is for 5 years. The commissioners voted to place the reduced levy on the November ballot.
(Note: This is a report of a portion of the Lorain County Commissioners virtual meeting on May 26, 2021.)