State Representative Cera looks to restore local government funding
BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio —
A State Representative is introducing a bill to restore local government funding after he says communities are struggling to fund schools, public safety and other essential services under the current system.
State Representatives Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) and John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) are introducing new legislation to reinstate the local government fund back to the 2005 funding levels.
This comes on the heels of a Belmont County Commission meeting Wednesday where recent water, sewer raises and poor road conditions were largely discussed.
"It's not just us, we'll do our part on our end, but what I also would love to see are our state and federal governments do more - because this is not just a Belmont County issue,” said Belmont County Commissioner J.P. Dutton.
Cera said enough is enough.
"This has really devastated the small communities of eastern Ohio,” he said.
According to Cera, the lead Democrat on the House's State Budget Committee, the cuts that were made in 2011 to close the state budget deficit were done to the detriment of local communities.
"Being that I’m a Township Trustee, Terry Lively's right,” said Pultney Township Trustee Frank Schaffer. “We need to maintain these roads that are washed out.”
Some of which have had to eliminate essential services, trim police and fire budgets and slash local school funding.
"We need to restore this commitment that the state made years and years ago to the local governments that we would help them,” Cera said. “And if we don't do this, we're going to see our communities continue to go downhill."
Cera and Rogers are proposing the increases to local government funding would begin in July of this year and continue in each fiscal year thereafter.
"Probably most of my calls every week are from people who are concerned about issues with their township roads or problems within the village or now potholes,” Cera said. “So, it's something that really is long past due for us to get back to and agree that this is something that we need to do."
Once numbered, the bill will be referred to a house committee for its initial hearings.