Today’s Lake County Commissioners meeting was quite lively from beginning to end. After the election it seemed like they were a team, now I am not so sure.
It started with lots of smiles during a review of the County’s investments by the contracted investment advisor. Commissioners Troy, and Cirino are on the Investment Advisory board, as is, the County Treasurer Lorraine Fende. We have $126 million in marketable securities that are earned 1.67% and returned $2.4 million in income.
During the first public session, I read my letter regarding the Land Bank spending $175,000 of the taxpayers’ money to demolish two building privately owned by the Catholic Church. After I read the letter, Mr. Cirino had the audacity to say that I, obviously, have a problem with the Catholic Church.
I immediately “burst his balloon” by informing Mr. Cirino that I would be making the same statements if the entity was a synagogue, or a mosque. And, by the way, Mr. Cirino, I happen to be a Roman Catholic. Upon hearing this, Mr. Cirino sheepishly said: “Oh, I guess I take that back”…(Comment: redacted by me)
I said that it is not acceptable for the Land Bank to bail out a religious institution. Mr. Cirino said that they were not since the Mayor of Willowick was also involved. (Comment: That is really some strange logic from Mr. Cirino – I expected better of him. It is a separation of church and state issue. No governmental body should favor one religion over another. By spending the money on the Catholic Church, the Land Bank was showing favoritism.) The church owned the property and reinforced that argument when they offered to give the property’s title to the Land Bank.
Mr. Cirino suggested that I call and speak to the City of Willowick Mayor. (Comment: I am not sure what that would solve. No doubt the Mayor viewed Mr. Rogers’ offer to help as the “cavalry” coming to solve a problem that the city could not solve and the church neglected for years.)
Mr. Cirino said that I have been talking about this a lot, and both he and Mr. Troy do not see it as a problem since the Land Bank’s role is to rehabilitate blighted properties. I said I do not believe that Mr. Rogers did anything nefarious or sinister, but he was incorrect on this transaction.. I see a role for the Land Bank, but on this transaction we are going to have to let the residents of Lake County decide if we should have donated $82,500 to the Catholic Church.
Real Estate Taxes:
The Commissioners adopted two resolutions placing two real estate tax levies on the ballot. The crime lab will be asking for .4 of a mill [$14.00 for every $100,000 of appraised value]. (Remember that 1 mill equals $35.00 for every $100,000 of appraised value). We have asked for a tour of the crime lab, and we will be reporting on that to you, If anyone wants a tour of the crime lab, they would be more than willing to accommodate you.
The second tax levy approved is for the ADAMHS Board. They want to renew their .7 mill levy [$24.50 per $100,000 in appraised value]. We will have more to report closer to the election.
Port Authority Appointment:
There was a very lively debate on this issue. There are some definite signals that not all is well at the commissioner level. Troy was very vociferous in his desire to have a female on the Port Authority Board. A member of the audience wondered why the resolution was still tabled, since the candidate nominated was very well qualified. Cirino wanted to remove the resolution from the table, and expressed his feeling that they have a qualified candidate. However, Troy thinks he is the wrong gender, and Hamercheck wanted some time to review the advice from legal counsel. They could not even get to vote since no one would second Troy’s motion. (Comment: Needless to say, this meeting was worth the price of admission……)