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Councilman Seeking Stow's Input for Trip to Nation's Capitol

Councilman Mike Rasor wants your feedback on which agencies to meet in Washington, D.C.

For the second-straight year, I will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to speak with federal agencies on the residents’ behalf.

Please email me if you have any agencies that you would like me to speak with. Last year, I met with the Federal Aviation Administration about the issue. I think it was fruitful.

Some residents were concerned about the flight patterns of university airplanes. I met with three FAA officials, who told me about enforcement mechanisms for when the airplanes violate FAA regulations. Those contacts have been helpful in working with the university.

Please let me know soon so I can get meetings set up quickly. For your information, this trip will be on my own dime — all of it — as it was last year. The city won’t be paying a cent.

Click here for an exhaustive list of federal agencies.

City Council will meet at 7 p.m. May 12. To see Mike's blog about city council happenings, click here.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sara Drew May 11, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Mike, I'm glad you will be there along with Mayor Fritschel and I for the conference in June! I think it's great that all of us will be representing Stow and are able to reach out to a broad range of individuals and agencies. I'm sure our coordinated efforts will have a good impact for the residents of Stow!
Amanda Harnocz May 11, 2011 at 01:00 PM
A comment has been deleted for violating our terms of use: http://stow.patch.com/terms.
Ed Kent May 11, 2011 at 05:48 PM
Is there an agency at the federal level that could help guide Ohio into becoming constitutionally compliant in regards to fixing our property tax problem? Obviously, this is probably more of a state problem and therefore a federal agency may say "we can't help you with that". As I understand it, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the current way we fund our schools, primarily with money from property owners, violates the Ohio Constitution and that the state and local communities needs to come up with a more fair way. Maybe, there's someone at a federal agency that could help point us in the right direction in order to possibly investigate using consumption based tax revenues to fund our public schools. Whether that is something of a local, county, state or federal level approach at least it should be talked about. We've got to find a better way to fund our public schools besides increasing property taxes. A consumption based tax is a broader base and the last thing we need in Stow is to turn away potential homebuyers, many of whom don't have kids, by raising the cost of owning property in Stow. In selling property myself, that is one of the big questions buyers ask, "how high are the property taxes in Stow?" I've been able to tell them, so far, that we do indeed support our school staff salaries by voting for school levies about every other year, but the voters don't always pass a levy. Some buyers are scared away by some communities that seem to always vote yes.
Richard Saunders May 11, 2011 at 06:19 PM
Do an experiment. Ask them to pick two districts (1 democrat & 1 republican) out of the 435. Leave all the federal tax money in the districts for lets say 5 years and see if the local districts can do a better job of allocating resources. The districts would be responsible for covering all the federal programs in their districts or eliminating them depending on the city, township etc. I know you will get laughed at all the way back to Stow because it is about the power and control. It sure would be a fine place to start a conversation though, all the wasteful spending in Washington. How are real estate prices holding up in Washington? Last report I saw pretty well. Just a thought. Sincerely, Richard Saunders
Ed Kent May 11, 2011 at 06:55 PM
I realize school funding issues may not be something a city council person or a city mayor would bring up, but certainly you're all concerned citizens and also represent the rest of us in our concerns and the sharing of ideas especially in regard to property taxes since that affects many Stowites. I'm growing weary of hearing neighbors say they're leaving this area and moving to other states where the property taxes are lower, but I understand. I have relatives facing the loss of their home because they're seniors on fixed incomes and can't afford the taxes. It's so sad when homeowners can't afford to keep their home because we demand more taxes from them even though they're incomes don’t also increase. Yes, we must fund our $50 million dollar annual public school budget, but maybe we can come up with a way that doesn't rely on property taxes so much. The reason the income tax school levy failed was because the voters had no guarantee that they would not also be asked for another property tax levy in the near future and because those who don't pay property taxes but have income fought heavily against the income tax levy since that would directly affect them while a property tax is indirect for them at best. A sales tax may be a way to help fairly broaden the tax base and increase the desirability of home ownership in this area.
Bob Adaska May 11, 2011 at 07:02 PM
The Editor and Amanda have asked me to tone down my comment I made yesterday. For those who did not read my comments on this article I will try to summarize. Mike Rasor announced his trip to the Nation's Capital next month. Sara Drew in my opinion not wanting to be upstaged by this announcement, made it clear that Mike was being joined by others including Sara Drew and Karen Fritschel. No big thing except I felt that the way in which Sara Drew chose to announce that she was also making the trip to Washington was in bad form. With all of Sara's recent columns popping up on Stow Patch, she could have easily informed the public of her upcoming trip to Washington D.C. Instead she decided to in my opinion try to share the spotlight in Mike's column in a political way. These local representatives although are coming from a non-partisan community are going to a place that is all partisan. Although Sara Drew would like to "coordinate their efforts" while in Washington, it may be that Mike wants to represent a more conservative side of our City. Finally, I believe the Voters elected Mr. Rasor overwhelmingly because they recognized his enthusiasm, experience and willingness to serve. I know my wife and I did. Let's not continue to try and dampen his spirits Ms. Drew.
James Thomas May 11, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Ed Kent, From your previous posts I think that you have a respect for the taxpayers that is not so well illustrated by this one. One thing I did not see in this post is any other avenue for school budgeting that does not ask some form of taxpayer to shoulder this responsibility. The prevailing economic reality of 2011 is that there is no form of revenue enhancement that is going to meet with voter support. Not property tax increases, not income tax increases and not sales tax increases. We have reached the limit of sustainable support. Now it is up to the School Board, Administration and employees of the schools to live within the support level we can afford.
Ed Kent May 12, 2011 at 12:08 AM
I agree James. The comment I posted with this blog is intended to lend a concern to those going to D.C. of something they might actually be able to discuss with some open minded people. There's no productivity in bring up "too much spending" to those in government agencies. They turn deaf to that kind of talk. So, my objective is similar to yours in regards to saving our community from this tax burden tipping point, which we've already passed. Discussion should be encouraged, but we must remember who they're meeting with.
Brian Lowdermilk May 12, 2011 at 01:59 AM
Are you and the Mayor paying for your trips too or are these being funded by the residents of Stow?
James Thomas May 12, 2011 at 02:23 PM
Ed Kent, I could not have phrased it better. "Tax Burden Tipping Point". That is a concept that must be emblazoned in the minds of every individual who is paid by a government agency. KUDOS.
Robin Anderson May 12, 2011 at 05:55 PM
What about "fair value for services rendered" or "doing without"?
Robin Anderson May 12, 2011 at 06:03 PM
The silence is deafening, eh?
James Thomas May 12, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Robin Anderson, In the light of a "Tax Burden Tipping Point" and the taxpayer's non-expanding wallet you hit the nail on the head. We will have to render "fair value" or do without.
Bob Adaska May 13, 2011 at 05:11 AM
Mr. Lowdermilk brings up a good point. I'm being told that other council members, past and present, as well as city employees, have made the trip to Washington D.C. compliments of the Stow Taxpayers. What kind of leadership do we have here? We are asking employees to retire early, take reductions in their salaries, make extreme cutbacks in their departments while some are traveling to far away places to speak and dine with other polititians. The party is over. When Stow families are out there struggling to make ends meet, they would like to know their government is spending their hard earned tax dollars wisely. You can twist this however you want to but this is wrong. If you want to make the trip to Washington D.C., make sure all of you that are going pay your own expenses. Otherwise invite the policy makers here for a Summit and speak to them here. If this is about sightseeing, it's like I said the party is over.
Ed Kent May 13, 2011 at 12:52 PM
I must agree with Bob. Although, there may be some benefits in whatever conference this is, I would like to know what money or services has it brought to Stow in the past. I'm not questioning the motives and hope others can let the public know what this is about, what financial gain has it brought Stow in the past to offset the expense of paying for more than one elected official to go and how much does this cost us per person? Again, I'm not being accusatory. But, knowing how many families in Stow are suffering right now with diminished income vs. tax burdens, higher fuel costs, higher food costs, higher living costs, higher healthcare costs and the impending potential of a new 10-year school tax levy, we are REALLY concerned about where our hard earned tax dollars go. Surely, all city officials know that and I'm sure many are also concerned. Although, some obviously tend to lean more toward fixing budgets with tax increases. Some politicians never seem to realize sometimes taxpayers simply can't suffer more taxes and would rather see services cut. Not because they don't need certain services, but they simply can't pay for it if it means higher taxes. For instance, if it cost so much to do leaf pick up in the fall and we can't afford it anymore then just do pickup for elderly and disabled. Give everyone a tax credit that will take care of their own leaves. I'll bag it myself and stick it out with the trash since I already pay for unlimited trash removal.
Bob Adaska May 13, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Ed, Again, you bring up some very thoughtful comments. Actually the leaf program has several benefits to our community. This service to the residents provides a economical way to collect the leaves City wide and divert them out of the landfils and into a composting facility. This broken down material is then offered to the residents to be used around their homes as a low cost mulch. If the City did not provide this service, many leaves would not be collected and end up plugging the storm sewers and collecting along the roadside. I am not saying we can't find another solution, but the solid waste management authority will not allow the trash haulers to pick up bags of leaves to be dropped off at land fills. The leaves would have to be composted by private companies which might add to the cost of your unlimited trash service. You can contact John Pribonic Public Improvements chairman of Council if you have some helpful ideas.
Ed Kent May 16, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Anyone have more information on what the conference is and how it helps Small Town, USA? What kind of benefits has Stow received from previous trips? I'm sorry if that was already reported in the past in any dead tree edition press. I sometimes don't get my Stow Sentry due to off and on delivery, so I miss some reports.
Mike Rasor May 16, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Thanks for the comments and suggestions, everybody. Ed brings up a good point. This trip is more pleasure than business -- and it has always been that way, despite the fact that city officials have used city money for travel and lodging. I'm hoping to add more business to the mix by interceding for residents with agencies, and by paying for it myself. The city shouldn't be paying for elected officials' vacations. There can't be any legitimate debate about that, can there?
Ed Kent May 16, 2011 at 03:21 PM
So, why are we paying for their trips? Can those getting the free trip explain what benefits the residents of Stow have gained in the past or hope to gain this year? Is it more political in nature? Have both Republican and Democrat party members received this free trip in the past or has it been more one party or the other? Or, maybe it's not about networking with other party members at all? Since I don't know much about this trip, I understandably have lots of questions. I'm a taxpayer, so I feel I have a right to know where my hard earned money is going and if it is a cost efficient way to benefit our city. Will the trip help us taxpayers financially? If not, then anyone going needs to pay for it themselves. Please.
Mike Rasor May 16, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Ed, Members of both parties have gone. Drew and Fritschel (Democrats) are going this year, although neither have said whether they will use city transportation or whether the city will fund the trip. I believe the members of council who went in the past were Republicans. It's not really a matter of party affiliation. Only of respect for tax dollars.
Ed Kent May 16, 2011 at 04:51 PM
Thank you Mike. And for the record, I'm independent. I've voted for members of both parties depending on who I felt would do the best job for whatever office they were running for. I'd still like to know what is the trip all about if taxpayers are having to pay for any part of it. If we aren't paying for it, then it doesn't concern me (none of my business). Although, I'm glad you are seeking to benefit the city in some way while enjoying your time in D.C. And, thank you for making sure everyone knows that you're paying your own way. That's very important. As far as political parties, I don't have a good feeling toward them as I see both sides spending so much money in so many ways and some of it for the sake of power and control. Not all members are like that of course. So, I vote for the ones who promote personal responsibility and those that tend to respect hard working taxpayers and not just big powerful groups like unions. I support donating to charities of my choice instead of my hard earned money supporting government bigwigs deciding how many more agencies they can create to spread the wealth. Thank you for providing that monstrous list of government agencies. I never realized how many there are. Not that we don't need some of them, but no wonder we have no money.
Sara Drew May 17, 2011 at 12:41 AM
As much as I would love to be on Patch every day, I am not always able to do so. Please feel free to email me directly at drewforstow@aol.com with any questions or concerns at any time! In reading the comments, I would like to respond to some of the very good questions asked. Mayor Fritschel and I are paying our own way to the conference--we are not asking the City to fund any portion of the trip--I believe that is the case with everyone from the City who is attending this year. Mr. Rasor, Mayor Fritschel and myself will be attending--I'm not sure if other Council members will be going or not, but I am sure all of us will be paying our own way. Thank you for the comments and questions!
Ed Kent May 17, 2011 at 05:56 AM
Thank you Sara for your response and letting us know we aren't paying for the trip. I appreciate that very much and thank you and the others for doing what you can to help taxpayers. And, no one expects you or other officials to always be answering our small comments on this site. But, when you do it is certainly welcomed. I tend to find Stow Patch a nice little break during my work day while waiting on project status and therefore chime in every once in a while. It's a little like therapy I guess. Exercising the mind. Hope your trip has good weather. Maybe you can bring back some heat with you when you return. I'm cold.
Don Bettio May 18, 2011 at 08:45 PM
to Sara Drew and Mayor Fritschel--since Mike is paying for his trip , who is paying for the two of you, You or the taxpayers?I think Mike is doing this as always for the good of the city, NOT THE "VOTE"
Don Bettio May 18, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Thanks for the GOOD WORK for the citizens of this city. Keep it up .
Andrew Dee May 31, 2011 at 04:06 PM
All the members of local government going are paying their own way - to go to a conference on local government. Mr. Rasor asked for input about agencies to visit. I don't know why so many people got into an angry tangent about "the taxpayers" paying for this trip, since there is no evidence that was every going to happen? I think everyone should calm down when enjoying the news, and check their facts before they start throwing emotional accusations - especially when they are based on falsehoods. Keep Stow Patch positive, I would hate for it to turn into one of those message boards with trolls attacking everything everyone says. Because I know I stop returning to those websites.
Ed Kent May 31, 2011 at 07:41 PM
I think readers shouldn't be put off or get defensive when anyone brings up a question whether taxpayer money is being used. The question was raised and answered appropriately. I don't pay any attention to accusations. I'm glad our officials respond to legitimate questions without getting defensive or reading into the simple question emotions that may not be in the writer's intention. Public comments can range from the fanatical to the simple facts and readers must not be too sensitive if something ruffles their feathers. It doesn't take long to figure out who's just trying to cause some stir and not really contributing in a profitable way. Although, most sites like this don't mind some stirring as it creates discussion and thus site hits. After all, this is a business. If this site is just for fluff then it better stay away from any topic about government, taxes, health, expenses or any other subject that reflects the cost of living in Stow. But, it's about Stow and surely all those subjects are of interest to Stow Patch readers.
Bob Adaska June 02, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Sara Drew only stated that she and the Mayor would be paying for this trip on their own. I believe that this decision was in direct response to our inquiries. The fact is previous trips have been paid using city funds; you heard that from at least two current city officials. I would bet my bottom dollar that this trip would have also been paid with city funds if it had not been for Councilman Mike Rasor pointing out the fact that he intended to pay for his own expenses leaving us to wonder about the other two going. I think it is every citizen's responsibility to question their city officials and all the way up to the top for that matter. For those of you who think things are running so smoothly, you need only attend a few committee and council meetings.

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