After several years of struggling to keep the municipal budget balanced, Steubenville officials at last may be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. During the Nov. 6 election, city voters will decide whether to keep the outlook bright.
State funding cutbacks and setbacks in the Ohio Valley economy have made it more difficult to operate city government in Steubenville during the past few years. But a few economic development victories in East Ohio, related to the gas and oil drilling boom, make the outlook more promising.
To continue making progress, city government will need as much budget stability as possible. A key to that is a property tax levy for municipal operations.
On the books since the 1960s, the levy now provides about $575,000 a year for purposes including police and fire protection, recreation, health, street lighting, municipal court and assistance to the needy. Without the levy, cutbacks in all those areas would be necessary.
On Nov. 6, city voters will be asked to renew the levy for an additional five years, by voting "yes" to it on the ballot.
Endorsements of the levy continue to be received by city officials. This week, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce went on record in support.
One important fact for voters to remember is that approval to renew the levy will not mean tax increases. Again, the levy already is in effect; reauthorization will merely continue taxes being collected now.
At this point the question looks like the proverbial "no-brainer." If Steubenville voters want to maintain existing city services and keep the door open for progress, they will vote "yes" on Nov. 6.