Akron -- Over the last two years, charities in Northeast Ohio have benefited from a full year's salary -- $23,700 -- donated by Summit County At-large Councilor Bill Roemer.
In November 2010, the legislator from Richfield made a campaign promise to give back half his salary ($11,850) to community non-profits if Summit County did not balance its budget.
Three years into his four-year term, Roemer is keeping that promise for a second straight year, donating $11,850 to local charities. A portion of the donation is expected to be routed to Success Images, a non-profit in Twinsburg that mentors at-rick youth.
"I really appreciate being able to give back to the residents of Summit County," Roemer said July 18.
The retired CPA with a fiscally conservative philosophy also declined benefits issued to elected officials in Summit County, including health, pension, vision and dental, an estimated savings of between $8,000 and $10,000 for the county, Roemer said. He also turned down the stipend issued by the county to officials who decline benefits, which is $50 per month or $600 per year.
In 2011, Summit County showed expenditures of $101.7 million and revenue of $99.9 million, resulting in a deficit of $1.8 million in the general fund. In 2012, Roemer said the county budget once again finished in the red, with $100 million in expenditures and $97.6 million taken in, for a deficit of $2.4 million.
The county is projected to be in the red by $1.5 million in 2013, the final year of Roemer's term.
"I'll probably have to do this again next year, too," Roemer said.
Requests for a portion of Roemer's $11,850 donation are due by Aug. 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To decide which charities received what amounts, Roemer formed a committee in 2012 comprising philanthropist Mary Serpentini; Dan Bell of Daniel L. Bell Co. LPA and chairman of Summit County Children's Services; Kevin Crum, CPA with Levin, Swedler and Crum and past chairman of the Summit County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board; and Randy Briggs, Akron deputy mayor for labor relations and chairman of the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board.
"Summit County has been a wonderful place to raise my family and I am pleased to be able to give back," Roemer said in a July 15 release.
Last year, the largest donations were made to the Battered Women's Shelter; International Institute of Akron; Open M; The Boys and Girls Club of the Western Reserve; Victim Assistance Program; and Flashes of Hope Pediatric Cancer. Success Images in Twinsburg also received money in the first year of Roemer's philanthropy.