Residents can vote by mail on fire levy

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

The passing of a fire levy is the last thing Franklin Township officials want to think about as they continue to make changes in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fire department put a 19.5-mil levy on the March ballot. However, when the March elections were postponed, leadership said the passing of the levy is the last thing on their minds right now.

“Right now, we are not thinking about our levy,” said Mark Potts, administrator for Franklin Township. “Our priority is the health of our community. During this time, we are not thinking about the fire levy; we are focused on what we are going to do today to protect our residents.”

However, Potts said part of protecting the community depends on the township’s first responders.

“Our first responders are trying to safely provide the best service to our community during these tough times,” Potts said. “We need to keep them safe, especially our vulnerable populations that are more susceptible to this virus, like seniors.”

The election will now take place on April 28 and will be an exclusive mail-in primary election, a first for Ohio. Voters who have not already voted will need to request an absentee ballot to vote. To receive an absentee ballot, voters have to a print an application form off the Internet, call their county elections board to request one or write the necessary information on a piece of paper and mail it in.

Requests have to be received by noon on April 25, except in cases of hospitalization. Submitted ballots must be postmarked by April 27 or can be directly delivered to the voter’s county election board on April 28. Voters with disabilities or those without home mailing addresses will be the only people allowed to vote in person on April 28.

The fire levy the township is asking for is a permanent levy, meaning it will not expire.

Currently, the levy that is about to expire is timed, so according to leadership making one permanent levy would alleviate the need constantly come back to taxpayers asking to renew levies.

The new levy would also collect from the entire township, including properties that were annexed with a type II annexation.

“In 2003, the Ohio legislative government passed laws to allow townships to conform our boundaries to include properties that were annexed with a type II annexation,” said James Welch, fire chief. “What this means for Franklin Township residents is this will spread out the expense for fire services to include all properties that were annexed since 2003.”
Properties like the Hollywood Casino Columbus that annexed out of the township would have to pay its portion for the levy.

If voters approve the levy, it would cost the average resident approximately $30 more per year on their property taxes.

The money raised from this levy would go toward the ongoing operations of the fire department. Some of these expenses include salaries, health insurance and the cost of inflation.

For more information, visit www.franklin-township.com.

To request an absentee ballot, visit www.ohiosos.gov.

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