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Published: Tuesday, 2/14/2006

Oregon council seeks 3 levies on May 2 ballot

Three levy renewals - two property tax and an income tax - will appear on the May 2 ballot after Oregon City Council voted unanimously last night to ask residents to continue helping fund the city's recreation and fire departments and other city services.

Council voted to ask the Lucas County Board of Elections to place the levies on the ballot as emergency measures to make Thursday's deadline to file for the May election.

Residents will consider a five-year, 0.5-mill property tax levy that will provide additional funds to operate and buy equipment for the city's recreation department, if approved.

They'll also consider another five-year, 0.5-mill property tax levy renewal which, if passed, would allow the Oregon Fire Department to maintain fire equipment and buildings and would help pay for the department's operating costs.

Each levy raises about $155,000 a year and costs the owner of an $100,000 home about $5 annually - the same rate homeowners have been paying since the levies were first passed in the 1970s, Finance Director Jim Austermiller said.

The income tax would be for five years at 2.25 percent. It would help pay for construction and maintenance of the city's water and sewer systems, police and fire operations, street and drainage improvements, and expenses associated with economic development.

In addition, it would help fund citywide refuse collection, Oregon Municipal Court, capital improvements and expenditures, and general operating expenses. Mr. Austermiller said the measure would raise about $12 million a year.

Council decided to place the levies on the May ballot because residents will have a full plate near the end of the year.

"In November, you're going to have a lot of levies countywide, so we went on early," she said.

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