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Published: Sunday, 11/6/2005

Senior center's fate up to Sylvania voters

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Area residents will decide the fate of the Sylvania Senior Center, consider a tax to keep Rossford out of debt, and decide whether to amend Maumee's city charter, among other municipal issues on ballots in suburban Toledo areas in Lucas and Wood counties.

If voters in Lucas County's Sylvania and Sylvania Township don't approve an operating levy on Tuesday, the Sylvania Senior Center could close. The board of Sylvania Community Services, which runs the center, voted to close it if the 0.32-mill replacement levy for operations fails.

Voters turned down a 0.45-mill levy in May, when it shared the ballot with two fire levies that were also defeated.

About 300 seniors use the facility every day and about 2,500 individuals use it during the year. The center serves meals through the Lucas County Senior Nutrition Program and offers classes on health and finances, exercise, and crafts. It provides transportation to the center and to medical appointments, and provides lawn and home maintenance to some seniors.

About 25 percent of the center's visitors live outside the community, and the center receives county, state, and federal grants to help fund services to them.

The levy, passed five years ago, is set to expire at the end of the year. The 0.32-mill levy would raise about $430,000, or 65 percent of the center's 2006 operating budget. City and township officials have said they are still repaying a $2.2 million loan for the center's construction.

It would cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $19.60 a year, the same amount homeowners paid when the levy was first approved.

WOOD COUNTY

Rossford residents will consider a new tax to keep the city out of debt.

The five-year, 3.5-mill levy for operating expenses would raise about $474,000 in its first year. Officials have projected that the city will have a $350,000 shortfall next year. The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 house about $109 next year.

The city has not resurfaced roads since 2001 or replaced police cars since 2000, Ed Ciecka said.

If the levy passes, 40 percent of its revenues would be used to replace the refuse-collection fee council imposed this year to raise $175,000. Twenty percent would be for the 4 percent pay increases deferred by the unions, for about $100,000. Road improvements would be funded by about 21 percent, and 7.6 percent would be used to replace aging police cars and radios. The rest would go toward the stormwater master plan, public works equipment, computer systems, and other costs.

Perrysburg voters will consider a 1-mill, 2-year replacement levy for garbage collection and disposal. Voters have approved the levy every two years. It would cost the owner of a $200,000 house $61.26 a year.

The city is considering stopping curbside trash pickup from apartment buildings with more than four units, but officials say the levy would still be needed.

Lake Township voters will decide whether to approve a five-year, 1-mill renewal levy that would fund repairs to streets, roads, and bridges. The levy generates $103,527 a year, and was first passed in 1986. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $16.33 a year.

Although a replacement levy would have generated more money, the trustees decided on a renewal levy so it wouldn't compete with Lake Local School District's levy.

Luckey Village Council is asking voters for a five-year, 1.9-mill levy for current operating expenses. The levy, which was replaced five years ago, brings in $48,882 a year for the village and costs $67 annually for a $100,000 homeowner.

If approved by voters, village officials said the money would go into the general fund to be used at council's discretion.

Middleton Township trustees are asking voters to replace a five-year, 0.3-mill levy to provide and maintain fire apparatuses.

The levy has been on the books since at least 1976, and has been renewed every five years since then, officials at the Wood County auditor's office said. It costs $2.95 annually for a $100,000 homeowner and brings in $10,842 a year.

If it's replaced, the levy will bring in $28,365 a year and will cost a $100,000 homeowner a little more than $9 annually.

LUCAS COUNTY

Berkey residents will consider a 2-mill renewal levy for operating expenses.

Maumee voters will decide on changes to the city charter with the goal of helping the city operate more clearly.

The amended charter would spell out how contracts are approved, make the city's conflict-of-interest policy more specific, and provide some general housekeeping fixes.

Revisions would require council members to disclose conflicts of interest, and would void actions if a conflict was discovered later. The current charter does not specifically require conflicts of interest to be disclosed.

If the changes are approved, the council will be able to authorize a city employee to sign off on changes to specific contracts. That would mean council would not have to approve minor contract changes, which could prevent delays in finishing projects.

The amended charter would also allow council to discuss property leases and the sale and purchase of real estate in executive session.

Monclova Township voters will decide whether to overturn a zoning change that would allow a proposed mixed-use development called Scrimshaw Village. The trustees voted in December, 2004, to rezone almost 150 acres on the northwest corner of U.S. 20A and Albon Road from agricultural to allow the commercial and residential development.

Nearly 300 residents signed a petition to get the referendum on the ballot.



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