The facts don’t substantiate the claim

The Times published an article on March 29 which contained some very perplexing statements from gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald. In the report titled, “Candidate for governor talks local, state issues,” it quotes FitzGerald as saying he has been approached by different township trustees across the county who are feeling the impact of reduced funding in recent years.

I find this to be a very curious thing to say. In Washington County 2014, the townships are receiving record high revenue. The level of funding which the townships receive will reach unprecedented level. If indeed he was approached by local trustees as he claims, those trustees must have been absent from Thursday’s trustee meeting where the figures were presented. More likely though, FitzGerald is spewing campaign rhetoric or reciting a prepared speech which he uses everywhere.

He then followed with this statement, “They’re devastated by budget cuts,” adding that townships are starting budgets with bigger debt now than ever before.

I can only surmise that this is a “cookie cutter” speech that he is making in all counties, but he should be aware that to make such a statement here in Washington County is abject prevarication. His undoubted intention was to draw attention to the reduction of local government funding caused by Gov. Kasich’s budget balancing. Here in Washington County though, such a statement resonates as incendiary and irresponsible.

In keeping with the pledges we made to restore adequate funding to the townships, your commissioners have increased the township share of the permissive sales tax by $1 million. Seven years ago, township share was at $751,000 countywide. In 2011, it had sunk to $736,000. In 2014, it is $1.785 million. I feel a duty as your County Commissioner to set the record straight and not allow false, inflammatory campaign talk to ignite unnecessary hostility here in our wonderful county. We commissioners will continue to work diligently to make sure the people here in Washington County get the best services available (without begging Columbus for money) while striving to keep taxes as low as possible in the process, irrespective of the often false rhetoric coming from statewide elections.

David White, com