County issues fill November ballot

Numerous levies up for vote

By David J. Coehrs - [email protected]

A number of issues will be placed before Fulton County voters on Nov. 3.

Fulton County residents are being asked to approve two levies.

The first, a request to renew a five-year, 2-mill emergency medical services levy, would also add a 2-mill increase. The resulting 4 mills would bump up the annual revenue from approximately $1.5 million to approximately $3.6 million. The cost for the owner of a $100,000 home would increase from about $49 per year to about $118 per year.

County Commissioner Bill Rufenacht noted previously the added revenue would meet cost and wage increases. He specifically addressed the need to hire full-time personnel to counter the dearth of EMS volunteers available to respond to emergencies.

Commissioner Jeff Rupp said previously, “It will be up to the residents to decide what levels of service they want.”

The second, a replacement 10-year, 0.5-mill health levy, would replace a 0.5-mill levy on the books since 1986. It would generate approximately $248,000 annually at a cost to the owner of a $100,000 home of about $7 per year.

In June, Health Department Commissioner Kim Cupp said a five-year projection shows a need for the increase. She said without it “we would have to take a good, hard look at where we would have to reduce costs.”

The Village of Delta is asking for renewal of five-year recreation levy which funds community park operations. The 1-mill levy will generate approximately $42,000 annually for upkeep and activities. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $33 a year.

Delta Administrator Brad Peebles said due to the level of quality maintained in park areas residents usually favor the levy. He said if it fails “I would anticipate that we would have to consider some modifications within our park system and the activities that are typically supported by the levy. They would have to be reevaluated.”

The village also will give residents within the corporate limits the opportunity to vote whether their electricity can be purchased through aggregation. Presently, they are typically serviced through FirstEnergy Corporation.

The ballot proposal would permit the village to act as a purchasing agent for residents’ electrical needs. Peebles said aggregating electric loads could save individual residents up to $150 to $200 annually. He said village financial records indicate that over the past decade the village’s municipal operations have saved more than $300,000 through three aggregation contracts.

Village administrators attempted once before to place an aggregation proposal on the ballot.

“It’s simply a question if the village residents wish to have service provided by the village,” Peebles said. He added that “generally, people have been supportive” once they understand how aggregation works and how it can save them money.

Swanton voters will be asked to approve a D-4 liquor permit for Sunday sales between 10 a.m. and midnight at American Legion Post 479 at 200 S. Hallett Ave. Police Chief Adam Berg said the post has been an asset to the community, and he foresees no problems with Sunday sales.

“They do a good job of keeping a tight ship. We never have any complaints,” he said.

Swancreek Township trustees requested a zoning plan be placed on the ballot for an unincorporated section known as West 1. At a public hearing held by the township’s Zoning Commission residents complained about the appearance of businesses in that section.

The trustees acted on a zoning plan after rumors surfaced that a scrap yard would open on US 20A. Because the area is unincorporated only state codes apply to businesses there.

“We have no control over what goes in anywhere. There are no guidelines,” Trustee Pam Moore said previously. “I don’t think we’re against any type of business, it’s just how they put their business together. We would like uniformity.”

The Village of Archbold is asking voters to approve a five-year, 3.3-mill replacement levy for operating expenses. Without its passage, the village would have to consider a decrease in services.

Currently, the full 3.3-mill levy paid by the village’s industrial and commercial entities raises approximately $196,942 annually for general fund operations, according to Administrator Dennis Howell. If passed, the replacement levy would raise the effective rate of 1.04 mills for residential and agricultural areas to the full rate.

The increase would generate approximately $389,000 in taxes in 2016, payable to the village’s general fund the following year. The increase would also raise the annual cost for the owner of a $100,000 home from $31.92 to about $101.

Failure to pass the levy would leave the village contemplating cuts in police and fire services and refuse services, the latter which the levy subsidizes by 40 percent.

Because Archbold has already seen a $590,000 reduction in state aid since Ohio’s 2006 tax reform bill, the cuts could prove significant, Howell said.

In York Township, with the exclusion of Delta, voters will decide the renewal of a 1-mill, five-year levy supporting road repair and maintenance. It would generate approximately $52,000 annually for the township’s 36 miles of road.

Without passage, “There would be very little road improvement,” Trustee Tom Tedrow said. “We’d just have to do what we can do, nothing extra.”

He said renewal of the township levy is generally supported, since “we’re pretty conservative with our spending.”

A five year, 0.75-mill renewal operating levy for the Normal Memorial Library in Fayette would generate approximately $29,720 annually. The cost for the owner of a $100,000 home would be approximately $14.75 a year.

Library Director Sally Canfield said the levy passed handily when it first appeared five years ago. Before that the library depended exclusively on its share of about $1.6 million Fulton County divided between its six public libraries. The shares are based on the number of students in each community’s school district.

Since as recently as 2012, the state has reduced the county’s library funding to about $1.1 million, further reducing the shares. “We had to be careful what we purchased. You just learn to do with less money,” Canfield said.

She said if the levy fails to pass the library’s board of directors would probably reintroduce it during the next election period. “But the community is very supportive,” she added.

The Village of Lyons will ask voters to renew a 3-mill, five-year operating levy generating approximately $23,934 annually. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $105 a year.

Village Administrator Tanya Lumbrezer said if the levy fails it’s possible services like leaf and snow removal could be affected. Failure would also mean the cancellation of a road resurfacing project scheduled next year for Maple Street.

Lumbrezer said she’s confident the levy proposal will be approved, since it is a renewal and no new money is involved.
Numerous levies up for vote

By David J. Coehrs

[email protected]

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.