Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lancaster mayor who laid off firefighters says Issue 2 won't help, wants higher taxes instead

The city of Lancaster recently closed one of its firehouses, after laying off 13 firefighters.
LANCASTER -- Engine House 3 has been shut down indefinitely, and Lancaster will have just two firehouses covering a city of 18.84 square miles and more than 37,000 people.

"It's going to be a very fluid situation with all these changes going on," said Lancaster Fire Assistant Chief Dave Ward.

The layoffs took effect on Monday. Engine 3 and Medic 3 are being stored at Engine House 3, 1596 E. Main St.

A huge tarp was put across Engine House 3, saying it was closed and that if you have an emergency need, call 911.
What's more, Mayor David S. Smith is asking for an increase in the city's income tax.

City officials are asking voters on Nov. 8 to approve a 0.25-percentage-point increase in the city income tax for five years, raising it to 2 percent. The increase would generate $2.5 million annually to help balance next year’s budget, Smith has said.

“It’s critical,” Ward said. “If this doesn’t pass, I anticipate city hall having to lay off more firefighters.”
Even though he's already had to lay off firefighters, plus is asking for higher taxes, Mayor Smith says the reforms in Senate Bill 5 wouldn't help his city.

But Smith doesn’t think SB5 would have helped his town at all.

“Senate Bill 5 doesn’t save the day for anybody,” he told The American Independent.

Let's look at some figures. According to the 2011 Lancaster city budget, they will spend almost $1,000,000 in pension pickups this year, and spent over $1,000,000 in 2010. Lancaster city employees also pay less than 15% of their health insurance premiums.

By letting the SB5 reforms take effect, Lancaster would save roughly $1,000,000 in pickups alone. One million dollars isn't going to help the city? Mayor Smith is flat out lying to the people of Lancaster, probably for the sole purpose of helping to pass his tax increase. Hundreds of thousands more could be saved by discontinuing longevity pay and having employees pay 15% of their health insurance premiums.

Smith calls himself a Republican, something that the left has been giddy in reporting. But here he is testifying about public-employee collective bargaining to the House Labor committee on behalf of Nancy Pelosi's Democrats last year.

Mayor Smith should be honest to his constituents in Lancaster, instead of misinforming them. So far, he has been willing to use layoffs and tax increases to balance his budget. If voters decide against Issue 2, and against the tax levy, even more firefighters will be laid off.
"If the levy doesn't pass in November, I think we can expect there will be even more layoffs," said Lancaster Fire Assistant Chief Dave Ward
People need to know the truth about what Issue 2 could do for Lancaster. Mayor Smith isn't giving it to them. How many firefighters does 1 million dollars pay for? I'd guess about 15, maybe more. That means 15 more people keep their jobs, and Lancaster is safer.

Vote YES on Issue 2.


  1. Hmmm... I guess I'll vote no, then. Clearly, this mayor would know what would and what would not help his city.

  2. Issue 2 doesn't affect collective bargaining agreements already in place. So even if Issue 2 passes, the pension pickup provision STILL won't save these jobs because it's not effective until the currrent collective bargaining agreement expires.

    A point the Mayor DIRECTLY ADDRESSED in the article you linked to and then BLASTING him for not addressing it.

    Seriously, do you even READ the materials you link to?

    If Issue 2 passes, these firefighters are losing their jobs anyways, and Kasich's budget is making things even worse for Lancaster. These are the FACTS.

    You keep on wanting to spin how Issue 2 would have prevented Chillicothe's firehouse from closing when it's still open today. Or how it would help the Village of Mt. Sterling avoid laying off its police force even thought the Village employees are non-union.

    You keep swinging and missing.

  3. Shorter Modern:

    Lancaster would still see savings from pension pickups but not IMMEDIATELY. So its better to just raise taxes then to EVER lower the cost of government.

  4. I live in lancaster.ive watched this town go down hill for the last 6 yrs.i pay 1.5% of my total income to the city.and 1.5% to the schools.i also pay property taxes.the taxes here are killing me and others like morgage has gone up every year for the last 4.when i bought my home i paid 385$ every six i pay 685$ every 6 months.i cant take another increase.1million dollars could have saved that fire picking up the health care and pension tabs for the city employees while i struggle with no health employers is to costly and it would mean my home or my health.ive worked hard all these years to be a home owner now im working 2 jobs just to keep my head above water.ive watched city parks close.i gave them a yes vote on the parks here in 2006.where did the money go?it wasnt to maintain the parks.ive watched the police dept purchase last year 2 new gas guzzling dodge chargers this is after being told layoffs were gonna happen for the dept.ive watched my neighbors be foreclosed on.ever see a child on a corner holding all they own?i happened right next door to me.ive watched hard earned dollar after dollar go to waste here.a yes vote on SB5 would have helped this city.i dont have any sympathy if these city employees hit the unemployment line.they did it to glad voters here rejected any new tax increases.also this fire station is closest to the hospital here.the others clear on the opposite side of town.tell me that isnt a dirty move on the cities part.move here pay the taxes i your hard earned $ go to waste then tell me issue 2 wouldnt have the way im a DEM but im finally seeing the light.i will not be voting for obama again in 2012


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