Norton voters to see fire levy on ballot
By Kally Mavromatis
NORTON — Now it’s up to Norton voters.
At the July 9 meeting, Norton City Council passed a resolution placing a 3-mill fire and EMS operating levy on the Nov. 6 General Election ballot.
The levy, however, was amended to provide for a division of funds. Thirty percent of the monies raised will be devoted exclusively to provide for capital expenditures, including the purchase, improvement and maintenance of land, buildings and equipment, with the remaining funds for equipment, supplies and other expenditures.
According to Finance Director
John Moss, should it pass,
“we can survive 20 years” with this levy.
“Out of this 3-mill levy,
[the citizens of Norton are] gonna
get a new fire station, they’re gonna get fire
equipment,” he said. “The residents know
what they’re getting for their money.”
Councilman Bill Mowery (Ward
3) applauded the amendment, pointing out the restrictions
mean greater accountability.
“It’ll give you a
money structure,” he said, “so no one asks,
where did the money go?”
Resident Megan Booth spoke against
the amendment to the levy, cautioning that formally
designating funds could “hamstring the city”
down the road.
But Moss took pains to
reassure residents and Council
the percentage would ultimately benefit the city.
According to his calculations,
“we have a levy that will last 20 years”
both capital-wise and operationally, he said.
The levy also was a key factor
in settling contract negotiations with the fire department.
“We reached a tentative
agreement with our firefighters,” said City Administrator
According to the new three-year
contract, firefighters will receive a 3.5 percent raise
the first year, with an additional 3 percent
raise years two and three, but only if the levy should
Ryland commended the department
for its flexibility and willingness to bargain during
“I can’t commend
the firefighters enough for coming in with a positive
attitude,” he said, a sentiment echoed by other
members of Council.
“It was a pleasure working
with the firefighters,” said Councilman Scott
Pelot (at large).
“Both parties are to be
commended,” said Mowery.
In other business, by a vote
of 4-3, Council defeated
a resolution that would have amended the city charter
to require a mayoral candidate earn more than 50 percent
of the vote to be elected. In the event the leading
candidate received less than the 50 percent, a run-off
election would have been required.
“We will be the only municipality
in Summit County to require this step” other than
Richfield, pointed out Councilwoman Brenda Hlas (at
But in speaking for the measure,
Pelot pointed out that the mayor should have “the
support of at least 50 percent of the voters.”
Also speaking in support of the
ordinance was resident
“I would really like to
see you pass this,” she said. “It’s
in the best interest of all of us.”
Voting against the ordinance
were members Mowery, Mike Zita (at large) and Hlas.
Because the charter requires the support of at least
five members of Council, the measure failed.
Norton City Council will recess
until the next regular meeting, which will take place
Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Administration Building on
Columbia Woods Parkway.