Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Guest blog: Keith Moore on why he voted for the levy resolutions

Many of our readers will recall Councilperson Vic Schneider’s 8/17/07 guest blog telling why he voted against the 8-mill levy resolutions council passed placing the issue on the November ballot. Today, Councilperson Keith Moore gives the other side and tells us why he voted in favor of the resolutions that allow Norwood voters to decide whether or not to extend the levy another five years. We want to thank Mr. Moore for accepting our invitation to present the opposing view. If any of our readers would like to submit a guest blog in answer to Mr. Moore's, just email us at

Why I Voted to Put the Renewal on the Ballot
Keith Moore

1. To give YOU the choice.

Council could have made the decision that you don’t deserve to vote on a renewal, because you have to be “protected” from these kinds of difficult decisions. But it’s your money. It’s your city. It should be your decision.

Plus, it’s a general election, so it won’t cost any more to add it to the ballot.

If the renewal is rejected, then we move forward from there. We won’t be able to accomplish all the things that we’d like to, but things won’t be nearly as bad as what I first walked into on Council.

2. I think it’s a good deal for you.

This is an unusual levy renewal. Some levies are about raising taxes (either to keep the status quo or add a new service or facility), but the Hamilton County Auditor’s office says that passing this renewal will not raise your taxes.

Most levy renewals are about avoiding big cuts. We don’t need this renewal to keep the status quo.

But are you happy with the status quo? I’m not. I want good streets, state of the art equipment, better parks . . . and did I mention streets?

You’ll get a better city without raising taxes.

By cutting costs, working more efficiently, and bringing in new business, we’ve clawed our way back to financial stability - without gutting basic services like police, fire, paramedics, and recreation. But for six years, we have rejected dozens of possible improvements, simply because there was no money.

If we pass a levy renewal, we can begin major investment in our streets and infrastructure, upgrade equipment, improve our city facilities, and put money away for future financial downturns.

Everybody says “We need a street program.” Easy to say, but you have to pay for it. If the renewal passes, we’ll have a very different street program than if the renewal is defeated.

3. Why a renewal and not a Streets Levy?

A special-purpose infrastructure levy was my first choice. But then we learned from the Hamilton County Auditor that replacing our existing levy with a special-purpose levy would actually cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The State is phasing out the personal property tax that businesses pay under a levy. For the next few years, the State will be paying cities and school districts a subsidy to make up for that lost revenue - but not for new special-purpose levies.

4. Why not wait until _____(fill in the blank)_____?

Because we have serious problems right now. The existing levy expires the end of 2007, so delaying the decision even a couple of months means another year of the status quo.

Now that we don’t have to scramble just to make payroll every other week and keep the lights on, we finally have the time and energy to put long-term, structural changes into place. But that takes time - and the streets and equipment and buildings won’t get any better by waiting until we have every i dotted and t crossed.

Is that a good reason to not let you vote on a renewal? The way I see it, keeping the renewal off the ballot won’t punish the city’s financial planners nearly as much as it will punish you - and your car’s suspension.

[By the way, I, Keith Moore, guided by my conscience, voted the way I thought was best for the city. Just like all the other members of Council. Personally, I was quite surprised by the accusation that putting a levy ON the ballot was the safe, easy, non-disruptive thing to do - especially in an election year.]

Why I voted to put the renewal on the ballot came down to two basic issues:

1. I trust the people of Norwood to know what’s best for them.
2. A renewal, in my opinion, gives us a better city without having to pay more.

So now it’s up to you. Don’t forget to vote.

Keith D. Moore
Norwood City Council - Ward One