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Published: Wednesday, 8/8/2007

Sylvania Township may seek 2 fire levies

Sylvania Township trustees could decide next week to place two issues on the November ballot, including a fire levy that could, according to a residents group, confuse voters.

Discussions last night about possible fire levies ended with Trustee Carol Contrada declaring her dismay over the actions of Trustees Pam Hanley and DeeDee Liedel.

Mrs. Contrada said the vote by Mrs. Hanley and Mrs. Liedel to take the first of two steps toward placing a 0.5-mill levy on the Nov. 6 ballot really is shameful and described their actions as a real flimflam.

Trustees have been at odds for months over the operation of the fire department, which serves both the township and the city of Sylvania.

Mrs. Contrada was the lone dissenter in December when trustees voted 2-1 to reduce staffing by five firefighters and eliminate emergency transport service to offset a deficit.

Last night, Mrs. Contrada failed to get support for a 1.5-mill levy. Instead, trustees voted 2-1, with Mrs. Contrada dissenting, to ask the Lucas County Auditor s Office to certify figures for a 0.5-mill fire levy.

In addition, trustees agreed to ask the auditor for certification of figures for a $10.5 million bond issue.

For several months, trustees have been talking about a possible bond issue to replace fire stations No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3 on existing sites, and for additions or renovations to existing station No. 4. New equipment would be bought with the bond issue funds as well.

Trustees are expected to decide during a special meeting Monday whether to proceed with placing the two issues on the fall ballot. Filing deadline for the Nov. 6 election is Aug. 23.

A 0.5-mill levy would be a step backward and wouldn t bring in enough money to avoid deficit spending, Mrs. Contrada said.

To help hold down costs to provide safety services, Mrs. Hanley and Mrs. Liedel said the township needs to consider hiring paid, part-time personnel to supplement the fire department s full-time staff. Adding several full-time firefighters would cost too much, Mrs. Hanley said.

The township is providing high-quality services, and can continue to do so with a half-mill levy, Trustee Hanley said.

Meantime, Mike Brown, co-chairman of Supporters for a Safe Sylvania, said Mrs. Hanley and Mrs. Liedel are trying to confuse voters by adding a 0.5-mill levy. Such a levy, he said, would continue the fire department s downward spiral besides making it difficult to explain ballot issues to voters.

If the residents group has obtained sufficient valid signatures, an initiative ballot issue a 1.5-mill levy would go before township voters this fall.

Through the group s similar petition effort, city of Sylvania residents will vote on a 1.5-mill fire levy as well.



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