My notes from last night’s meeting

Here are my personal notes from last night’s city council meeting:

Downtown Stow – Council took another step toward Downtown Stow by introducing legislation to create a Community Entertainment District. What is that? It’s a mechanism that allows 15 extra liquor permits in a given area, so long as there will be $50 million in new investment into an area of at least 20 acres. Liquor permits, of course, are critical for the development of restaurants. Also, these permits are 1/10th the cost of a normal permit. This measure will receive 3 readings before council votes on it, but it’s an indispensable step in our progress. … In related news, sometime in February, our consultant will be presenting its report to City Council. You’ll want to be part of that meeting.

Regulation on paintball guns and b.b. guns – The police department proposed an amendment to Stow’s laws to prohibit anyone under 18 from possessing a paintball gun or b.b. gun, unless there is parental supervision. The purpose of the amendment is to stop kids from using these toys with criminal intent. I feel the new law is unnecessary and overbroad. It was held in committee, and unless it is substantially narrowed, it may die there.

Taxpayer Bill of Rights – Last but not least … Council reconsidered its vote to reject my Taxpayer Bill of Rights charter amendment. On Jan. 11, the measure failed because it required 5 votes, and only got 4. But last night, all 3 members who voted “no” on Jan. 11 changed their votes, and it will now appear on the May primary ballot. This is a huge win for taxpayers. Candidly, it’s something that is on my bucket list of things to do before I leave City Council.

As a reminder, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will:

  • Prevent the city from raising income taxes without a vote of the electorate
  • Prevent the city from decreasing any income tax credit without a vote of the electorate (The most important credit is the resident reciprocity credit, which is of significant importance to Stow residents who work outside of Stow and already pay income taxes to another city. Without the credit, you could find yourself paying 2.5% to Akron and 2% to Stow.)
  • Require 5 votes of City Council before placing a tax increase or credit decrease on the ballot
  • Require any tax increase or credit decrease to be placed only on a November general election ballot

Next meeting – Council will meet next on Feb. 8. Please also consider joining the Stow Community Foundation for Pizza Palooza this Sunday at noon. Great event, and we plan to be a part of it.