Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
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Sylvania trustees cast prelim vote on 1.5 mill levy

Corrected version: Changed wording regarding continual levy and funding.

Sylvania Township Trustees preliminarily voted Tuesday to put a 1.5-mill levy on the November ballot to fund its fire department.

The trustees voted 2-1 to send the levy request to the county auditor for certification. Once the amount is certified, Administrator John Zeitler said a second vote will be required to put the measure before voters on Nov. 4.

The continual levy would provide adequate funds for seven years and would collect about $1.81 million annually for operations at the Sylvania Township Fire Department, Fiscal Officer Dave Simko said. It would cost the owner with a home valued at $150,000, $78 annually. 

The fire department‘‍s incident calls have increased by 5 percent annually in recent years. Along with that growing work load, the township is considering restoring patient-transport services, which also would add to the department’‍s responsibilities. The union contract specifies the department must have a minimum of 58 full-time employees if the transport is established, which means the department would need two additional full-time employees..

Chairman John Jennewine voted against the levy proposal, saying he wants more information about the proposed ambulance transport system. 

Trustee Neal Mahoney said a larger department is necessary for the growing township. 

“It’s not for bells and whistles, we are basing it on how we’ve grown,” he said.

Moreover, the fire department’s budget forecasts a $1.2 million deficit in 2016. 

The fire department is now funded by seven existing operational levies. A home with a market value of $285,000 pays $456 a year for the seven fire levies.

One of the three fire levies dating as far back as 1976 is for 1.9 mills and is expected to collect about $635,000 in 2014. The other two, at 1 mill and 0.9 mill, are estimated to collect about $300,000 each next year.

Those levies collect taxes based on 1976 property valuations and do not increase collections even as home values increase. The most recent of the seven fire operating levies, a 1.25-mill tax passed in 2008, is expected to collect $1.5 million this year.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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