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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Lucas County levies: Road, fire levies dot ballots of local townships

Road-improvement and fire levies are on the ballot Tuesday in several Toledo-area communities, along with a waste-collection tax in Waterville Township, a general levy in Spencer Township, and a charter revision that would give Whitehouse village officials flexibility in how they bid construction contracts.

Washington Township voters have the most to consider, with a road-levy renewal and a fire-levy replacement on their ballot. Township officials have proposed a five-year renewal of a 2.5-mill road levy and the replacement of the current 1.5-mill and 1-mill fire levies with a single, continuing 2.5-mill tax.

The road levy, which generates $56,000 in annual revenue, may be spent only for contracted projects. It has been renewed twice since first being passed in 1989 and costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $37 per year.

As a replacement levy, the fire measure would cost the same homeowner more than twice as much - about $77 per year - because it would be based on current property valuations. The township expects to receive $137,757 annually if the levy passes, and Fire Chief Matt Hart said additional revenue is needed so the department can replace heavy equipment.

In Springfield Township, a proposed 2.5-mill fire levy would replace a tax first passed in 1974. Revenue would increase from $341,000 to $1.5 million if it is passed, which officials say is needed to balance the department's books and increase staffing to meet service demand. The owner of a $100,000 home would incur a $65.23 annual tax increase if it passes.

Other local levy proposals, with the projected revenue and the tax bill for the owner of a $100,000 home where estimated:

• Spencer Township, 1 mill for general operating expenses, $90,000 in revenue, $30.93 tax bill, new levy.

• Providence Township, 2.5 mills for roads, $182,740 in revenue, $76.55 tax bill, new levy. Township officials have relied previously on county, state, and federal funds but say road repairs have fallen behind.

• Waterville Township, 0.9 mills for collection of refuse and recyclables, $56,500, $28 tax bill, new levy. Services previously were paid for with funds from a 1.2-mill levy that expired in 2002.

• Jerusalem Township, 2 mills for roads, revenue of $79,500, $38 tax bill. Renewal of existing levy.

• Richfield Township, 2.5 mills for fire and emergency medical services.

The Whitehouse question, which would change the village charter for the first time in 10 years, offers the village a choice of hiring general contractors or awarding individual contracts for the various elements of construction projects. In proposing the amendment, village officials said it was inspired by difficulties they have had dealing with multiple contractors when projects have fallen behind schedule.



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