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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2005

Area counties join ballot plea for more money

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

School districts in northwest Ohio are not the only ones seeking new taxes in Tuesday's primary election.

Henry County plans to find out how much residents value their annual county fair. It is requesting a 0.75-mill bond issue that would raise more than $1.8 million over five years to replace the grandstand and make other improvements at the county fairgrounds in Napoleon.

The measure would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $26 a year.

The proposed new grandstand, which would seat 3,000 to 4,000 people, would replace the wooden structure dating to the early or mid-1900s, officials said.

The county's plans also call for upgrading the fair's electrical systems and renovating a pavilion on the grounds for year-round use.

The Hancock County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities is asking voters to increase their support for Blanchard Valley Center, which provides education, employment, and residential services for 436 children and adults in the county.

Voters will decide a five-year, 1.9 mill additional operating levy that would generate $3.08 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $58 a year.

County officials say the new money is needed because of state funding cuts and changes in reimbursement rules for services Blanchard Valley provides.

The board has made nearly $1 million in program and personnel cuts - reductions it does not plan to restore even if the levy passes. Nearly half of the levy proceeds would be used to offset next year's projected deficit of $1.5 million.

In Putnam County, voters are being asked to replace a five-year, 0.3-mill operating levy for the Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Board, which provides mental health care and alcohol and drug prevention services and treatment through providers like Pathways Counseling Center in Ottawa.

The levy, which is now generating $113,840 a year, would generate $171,000 if replaced. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $9.19 a year.

Bob Williams, Pathways' executive, said the levy has been in place since 1979 but has never been increased. The county's demand for services has increased, though: The board served about 700 clients in 1994 compared to 1,035 last year.

Bowling Green city voters will decide whether to replace a five-year, 1.4-mill operating levy that supports its parks and recreation department.

If voters approve it, the levy would generate about $633,000 a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $42.88 a year.

Parks Director Michelle Grigore said the levy would not be used for expenses at the soon-to-open community center built with the Ohio National Guard and Wood Lane, but would be used for general operations and maintenance projects at existing facilities.

In Erie County, Perkins Township voters are being asked to approve a five-year, 3-mill operating levy that would raise about $1.1 million a year and partially offset a feared drop in state funding, Trustee Jerry Baumgardner said.

If the growing township just south of Sandusky does not get new tax revenue this year, the trustees will be forced to lay off employees, he said.

The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $91 a year.

Other nonschool issues on the ballot by county:

DEFIANCE COUNTY

●Defiance: Replacement 0.3 percent income tax and new continuing 0.2 percent income tax.

ERIE COUNTY

●Margaretta Township: New 1-mill, 5-year operating levy and renewal 0.25-mill, 5-year recreation levy.

●Oxford Township: Renewal 2.5-mill, 5-year operating levy.

●Vermilion: New 0.25 percent, 6-year income tax for streets.

FULTON COUNTY

●Chesterfield Township: Renewal 1-mill, 5-year fire levy and renewal 2-mill, 5-year road levy.

●Clinton Township: New 1-mill, 5-year road levy and replacement 0.3-mill, 5-year fire levy.

●Dover Township: Question of adopting proposed zoning plan.

●Swan Creek Township (excluding Swanton and Delta): Replacement 1-mill, 5-year road levy.

●Swanton: Replacement 0.5-mill, 5-year park levy.

HANCOCK COUNTY

●Allen Township: New 0.9-mill, 5-year fire levy.

HENRY COUNTY

●Florida: New 4-mill, 5-year operating levy.

●Napoleon: Renewal 0.2 percent, 5-year income tax for recreation.

HURON COUNTY

●Bellevue: Renewal 0.5 percent, 5-year general fund levy.

●Plymouth: Replacement 1-mill, 5-year operating levy for maintenance of village cemeteries.

●Willard: Renewal 1-mill, 5-year recreation levy.

OTTAWA COUNTY

●Bay Township: New 1.1-mill, 5-year levy for fire services.

●Benton Township (excluding Rocky Ridge): Replacement 5.5-mill, 5-year levy for current expenses.

●Clay Township (excluding Genoa): Replacement 1.5-mill, continuing levy for current expenses and 2.5-mill, continuing levy for police.

●Portage Township: Replacement 1.7-mill, 5-year levy for fire and emergency services.

PUTNAM COUNTY

●Continental: Replace 1.7-mill, 5-year operating levy and replace 3-mill, 5-year police levy.

SANDUSKY COUNTY

●Bellevue: Renewal of 0.5 percent, 5-year income tax.

●Burgoon: Replacement of an 8-mill, 5-year levy for operating expenses.

●Clyde: Change charter to remove stipulation that a person can only serve three consecutive terms on any board or commission.

●Woodville Township: New 3-mill, 5-year levy for fire protection.

SENECA COUNTY

●Big Spring Township: New 1.1-mill, continuing levy for fire protection.

WILLIAMS COUNTY

●Madison Township: New 3.6-mill, 5-year levy to buy a fire truck.

●West Unity: New 1-mill, 5-year parks levy.

WOOD COUNTY

●Bradner: Regulating natural gas loads.

●Montgomery Township: Replacement 1-mill, 3-year road improvement levy.

●North Baltimore: New 2-mill, 5-year street and road improvement levy.

●Northwest Wood Ambulance District: Replace and decrease 4-mill, 3-year levy to provide 24-hour ambulance service and EMS.

●Washington Township: New 1.75-mill, 3-year fire apparatus levy.

●Weston: Renewal 1.9-mill, 5-year cemetery maintenance levy.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at:

jfeehan@theblade.com

or 419-353-5972.



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