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Published: Wednesday, 11/9/2005

Swanton refuses to renew police levy

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Voters in Swanton yesterday turned down a significant renewal levy that officials said was critical for funding the police department, while other municipalities approved most of the fire and police department funding levies.

The Swanton 0.5 percent renewal levy, which was estimated to raise about $440,000 annually, was defeated by a 2-1 margin. Swanton Police Chief Homer Chapa said his department needs to add about three police officers to equal the manpower needed for his jurisdiction.

Despite the failure of the safety funding measure in Swanton, all the other Fulton County townships managed to easily pass their fire and police department levies on the ballot.

In Amboy Township, voters easily approved a 1-mill, five-year levy renewal for fire and rescue services.

Clinton Township voters, including some residents in Wauseon, approved a 1.15-mill, five-year levy for the purchase of an $850,000 fire truck with a 100-foot ladder. The truck will enable firefighters to reach the roof of the Fulton County Health Center, which they cannot do with current equipment.

A replacement 0.5-mill, five-year levy in Pike Township, which will collect about $16,200 a year was passed easily. And in Royalton Township, voters approved a 1.8-mill, five-year replacement levy for fire protection.

Meanwhile, voters in Wood County's Middleton Township overwhelmingly approved a 0.3-mill, five-year replacement levy for fire equipment by a 3-1 margin.

As of 11:30 p.m. yesterday, with just 20 percent of the precincts in Lucas County reporting, voters in Oregon appeared to be favoring a five-year, 0.5-mill property tax renewal to help fund new equipment and salaries for the police department. With only 9 percent of the votes tallied in Oregon, voters supported the tax levy by 69 percent.

Jerusalem and Harding townships had not tallied any votes. Jerusalem Township is seeking a five year, 5-mill renewal levy for equipment and operating expenses for the fire department; and Harding Township officials are asking voters to approve a 1.5-mill replacement levy for contracting for rescue services. Waterville Township is seeking a 1.9-mill replacement levy for police salaries and equipment.



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