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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

Oregon voters asked again to extend city council terms from 2 to 4 years

Rossford amendment would change bond rules for employees

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Will the third time be the charm for Oregon officials who hope to extend council terms from two years to four?

A city charter amendment that would do just that headlines an array of local issues on local ballots, including numerous local levy renewals, some taxes that are either replacements or new, and charter amendments in other communities.

Oregon council members now are up for re-election every two years. The proposed amendment would established staggered four-year terms, with three and four seats up for election in alternating odd-numbered years.

READ MORE: The Blade 2012 Voters Guide

City voters rejected the idea in 1990 and in 2002. If they change their minds, the top three vote-getters in next year’s municipal election would receive four-year terms, while the next four would be seated for two years and be eligible to seek four-year terms in 2015.

A proposed charter amendment in Rossford would grant City Council the authority to waive the bond requirement for city officials and employees who handle public funds.

The city pays for the bonds, but those covered by them are excluded from Rossford’s general liability insurance, which would apply if council opted not to require a bond.

In Waterville, amendments are proposed to several sections of the charter that establish residency requirements for the mayor and council and set their compensation.

Compensation will simply be “fixed by ordinance or resolution” rather than be at least a minimum established by the Ohio Public Employees’ Retirement System, and council members would be allowed to reduce their own pay during the current term. Any pay increases would not take effect during a current term of office.

The amendments also would establish a city Civil Service Commission and allow carry-over balances to be considered in municipal budgeting.

Police levies are on the ballot in Lake Township and Millbury, which contracts with Lake for its police service.

The 1-mill levy proposed in Millbury would cover about $20,000 of the $62,000 the village pays Lake Township annually for police service and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $30.63 per year.

Lake’s request is to replace an 1.4-mill tax that dates to 1982, with three decades of rollbacks and inflation having eroded its effective rate to just 0.4 mill. If approved, the replacement would cost about $42.88 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home, up from $12.94 now.

One mill equals $1 of tax for each $1,000 of property valuation.

Also in Wood County, Grand Rapids Township has placed a 2.35-mill, 20-year bond levy on the ballot to pay for a new fire station, while Perrysburg Township has requested a 4-mill, continuing tax for fire and emergency medical services. The Grand Rapids Township tax bill would be $71.97 per year, while Perrysburg Township’s would be $122.50.

Fire operations expenses are the purpose of a 1.5-mill levy that Monclova Township has proposed to replace and increase by 0.8 mill. The net impact on the owner of a $100,000 home would be to boost the fire-levy bill from about $40.01 to $70.44 annually.

Berkey voters have been asked to replace an 0.75-mill operating levy with a five-year, 3-mill tax that would increase that standard homeowner’s bill from $22.95 to $91.88. The village also has chosen not to renew its 0.75-mill capital-improvement levy.

In Sylvania and Sylvania Township, the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District has proposed a new, 0.4-mill levy that would generate $578,875 in annual revenue for its operations and cost the owner of a $100,000 house $12.25 in annual tax.

A new five-year, half-mill parks and recreation levy in the Fulton County village of Metamora, meanwhile, would cost $15.31 for the owner of a $100,000 home there if approved.

Levy renewals are highlighted by a 2-mill, five-year fire-service tax in Washington Township. Renewal means that the assessment basis for the levy does not change, and thus bills would remain the same.

In Ottawa County, Elmore officials have requested renewals of a 3-mill operating levy for five years and a 2.5-mill streets levy for three years. Genoa has a five-year renewal of 1.3 mlils for Veterans’ Memorial Park operations on its ballot, while Benton Township’s ballot includes a five-year, 0.5-mill levy renewal for cemetery maintenance and operations.

Contact David Patch at: dpatch@theblade.com or 419-724-6094.



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