It took only four years for Mike to rise to the office of Vice President of City Council and Chairman of the Finance Committee. Two years later, City Council voted unanimously to name him as the President of Council. In January 2017, Council again voted unanimously to keep Mike as the President.
Rasor the Debt Eraser
Since his first election in 2009, Mike has focused on reducing the City’s heavy debt burden. On the day Mike took office in 2010, Stow’s debt was $31.64 million. As of January 1, 2017, the debt has been cut to $18.76 million — a reduction of 40%.
Driving Prosperity for Stow
Mike also focused on creating a business-friendly attitude at City Hall. He has met with business owners, toured factories, and implemented strategies to make job growth a reality. As one example, Mike recently led a drive to reform the tax abatement formulas–to create realistic incentives and to eliminate the possibility of arbitrary decision making by bureaucrats. Mike’s efforts over the past 7 years have worked. Payrolls have increased by 30% since Mike took office. They are now at an all-time high.
Protecting Your Tax Dollars
Mike has been City Council’s consistent voice of restraint when it comes to spending your tax dollars. He has voted “no” on 4 of 6 annual budgets, because they were not balanced. But it hasn’t resulted in reduced services. In fact, 93.8% of Stow residents said the city provides excellent or good customer service.
As a few examples of Mike’s cost-cutting:
- Drafted and sponsored the “Transparency and Green Savings Act,” which cut city spending on paper.
- Successfully defeated a plan to give retroactive raises to employees (for a savings of $75,000).
- Successfully led an effort to reduce City Council’s pay (annual savings of $7,000).
- Successfully defeated a plan to give raises to other elected officials.
- Has sponsored a plan to move city primary elections from September to May, for a savings of at least $15,000 per election.
- Successfully opposed plan to spend $252,000 of funds to build a new playground. Funds are now being raised privately for the project.
- Successfully defeated a proposal to spend more than $50,000 on sight-impaired technology at intersections — without even conducting a study to determine whether the technology would be used.
Investing into Stow’s Future
Mike understands that not all spending is bad. Investments into infrastructure are critical for the business community and the residents’ quality of life. When Mike was elected, the City’s roads were crumbling. Sixty (60) lane miles were in “poor” or “very poor” condition. The city was spending about $300,000 per year on road improvements. Mike has consistently fought for more funding for road repairs. From 2011 to 2017, the City has invested an extra one million dollars per year into improving roads. When compared with 2009, Stow has reduced the amount of “poor” or “very poor” lane miles by 47%.
Fulfilling his Promises
When Mike was first elected, there were two giant problems facing Stow’s budget: The Fox Den Golf Course and the Stow Municipal Court. Both were draining the City’s funds. Mike placed strong pressure on city officials to make changes at the golf course and placed pressure on the court to reduce an annual $293,000 deficit.
- Fox Den expenses have been cut by 5%, from 2009 to 2016. Revenues have substantially increased. In each of the past three years, Fox Den’s golf revenue has exceeded its golf expenses.
- Mike’s efforts also worked at the courthouse. Since 2011, Stow Municipal Court has operated in the black. The courthouse operates without any city financial assistance – at a savings of $1.758 million to Stow taxpayers.
Fighting Tooth and Nail against New Taxes
In the past five years, many cities have raised income taxes to account for a loss of revenue from the State of Ohio’s Local Government Fund and from the now-repealed Estate Tax. Thanks to Mike Rasor, Stow has held firm. Mike has opposed all new taxes. In 2013, Mike led the charge to defeat a ballot proposal (by a 68-32 margin), which would have increased the income tax rate from 2% to 2.25%. Since Mike was elected, Stow has not raised taxes by even one penny. And the City has done it without reducing or eliminating city services.
Mike has been an advocate of U.S. servicemen and women since being elected. Mike has proposed legislation to move Stow’s primary from September to May, which will prevent disenfranchisement of overseas military personnel. He volunteered on Honor Flight, taking WWII and Korean War veterans to see Washington DC monuments. He is the Director of Operations for local military foundation.
Protecting Stow’s Term Limits
If it were not for Mike Rasor, it is safe to say that Stow would not have term limits on its City Council. He fought to get term limits on the ballot in 2010, and then he campaigned fervently for their approval. Thanks to Mike’s efforts, term limits were approved by a 75/25 margin. Mike also successfully fought efforts to repeal term limits for mayor, law director, and finance director.
Leading Ohio in Transparency
Mike has strived to make Stow the most transparent city in Ohio. He has continuously operated a blog since 2009, informing residents of every important vote and other city issues that affect them. He drafted and sponsored the “Transparency and Green Savings Act,” which required all important city documents to be placed online. He supported legislation to make Stow the first Summit County city to place its checkbook online through Josh Mandel’s program. Auditor Dave Yost has given Stow a “clean audit” distinction for each year since Mike’s first election.
Connecting with the Community
Unlike other elected officials, Mike does not “only come around in election years.” He regularly and consistently meets with business owners. He is constantly engaging with residents on social media and through his blog. He regularly speaks at DARE graduation on the importance of making good life choices. Several times a year, Mike visits his alma mater, Stow High School, to teach classes on municipal government and business law.
Fire Department Like No Other
Stow residents need not worry about whether the Fire Department will be ready when an emergency strikes. It will be. Stow holds an elite Class 1 ISO rating, which is important for insurance premiums and emergency-response times. Mike has consistently supported the Fire Department’s requests for equipment and manpower.
The Only Lawyer in the Room
Residents depend on Mike, who is the only attorney on City Council, to ensure that legislation is properly worded and does not lead to unintended consequences. Mike has successfully amended numerous pieces of legislation to better protect Stow families. For instance, Mike’s amendments to the Clandestine Drug Lab legislation will incentivize residents to report suspected drug activity and will also offer greater Fourth Amendment protection to residents. As another example, Mike reformed the senior snow plow program to protect senior citizens from identity theft. The program previously required seniors to make their personal financial information public in order to qualify for assistance. Mike successfully proposed a simpler and safer process, which also saved the city countless man hours and money.