By Amanda Ensinger
Residents in a local township wanted more information related to a levy.
At a recent Franklin Township meeting, residents questioned the trustees and department leadership about a fire levy (Issue 14) that will be on the ballot March 17. They asked for clarification on if approved how much more this levy would cost them and what the money would be used for.
“For me, it is only an additional $11.25 a month or a little over $100 a year,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “The amount will be minimal to residents because we are expanding the number of property owners who will be paying into the levy.”
The levy would collect from the entire township, including properties that were annexed with a type two 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 two annexation,” said Fire Chief James Welch said. “What this means for Franklin Township residents is that this will spread out the expense for fire services to include all properties that were annexed since 2003.”
Properties like the Hollywood Casino that annexed out of the township would have to pay its portion for the levy.
“If we weren’t able to add these other properties in, the increase would be more,” said trustee Ralph Horn. “However, we are asking these property owners to pay their fair share, which will help us all.”
The township will be asking for a 19.5-mill levy. Currently all four township levies equal 24.53-mill, but only have an effective rate of 18.5 for residential tax. Of the township’s current four levies, three are permanent and one is timed.
The new levy will be permanent. Currently the levy that is about to expire is timed, so according to leadership, making one permanent levy will alleviate the need to constantly come back to taxpayers asking to renew levies.
“Having a permanent levy will give us more longevity and will give us seven to nine years before we have to ask for a new levy,” Fleshman said. “We are trying to avoid continually having to come back to taxpayers for more levies.”
With all the fire levies in the township, residents pay approximately $650 a year per a $100,000 home value. With the passage of the new levy, residents would pay about $30 more per year.
Residents also asked what the money for the new levy would be used for.
“The money raised from this levy would go toward the ongoing operations of the fire department,” said Welch. “Some of these expenses include salaries, health insurance and the cost of inflation. Basically, all the operating expenses go up each year and the levies decrease in value.”
According to Welch, 78 percent of the department’s budget goes toward salary and payroll. Currently, Welch is paid an annual salary of $96,366, the assistant fire chief is paid $93,704 a year and the average salary of a township firefighters is $70,476 a year plus benefits.
The township will host an informational meeting on Issue 14 at 6:30 p.m. March 3 at Franklin Township Fire Station 192, 4100 Sullivant Ave. Residents are encouraged to attend.
If the levy fails, the township plans to seek a renewal for the current timed levy in the fall.
For more information on the Franklin Township levy, visit www.franklin-township.com.