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Ottawa Hills to ask voters for 3.9-mill levy

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Todd Larson cuts a sign's pole during construction of Gallitin Road in Ottawa Hills. Ottawa Hills is going to the voters in November with a request for an additional 3.9-mill continuing levy, the proceeds of which would be used for street, bridge, and sidewalk improvements.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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Ottawa Hills is going to the voters in November with a request for an additional 3.9-mill continuing levy, the proceeds of which would be used for street, bridge, and sidewalk improvements.

The new millage would generate $600,000 per year and cost the owner of a $200,000 home $273 annually, Village Manager Marc Thompson said.

He added that 1984 was the last time the village asked for a property tax increase. “That lasted for five years and expired. The tax rate today for village government is the same as it was in 1971. The key point is that the need for this levy arises because of changes in state law that reduced our income by approximately $800,000 per year,” he explained.

The $800,000 revenue loss is attributed mostly to the elimination of the estate tax in Ohio, 80 percent of which went to local governments.

“We’re feeling the full effect of it this year,” Mr. Thompson said.

The village’s largest revenue source is its 1.5 percent municipal income tax, which last year accounted for about 70 percent of its total.

The village manager noted that although proceeds from the estate tax went into the village’s general fund for operations, the money also was used for locally funded infrastructure improvements such as the current street reconstruction of Hempstead and Gallatin roads.

This is a $611,000 project that involves the complete removal and replacement of pavement, curbs, and driveway aprons, with sidewalks replaced as needed. The two residential streets run end to end, connecting Indian and Secor roads.

Funds from the new levy would be used only for street, bridge, and sidewalk upgrades, not other capital improvements, Mr. Thompson said.

To maintain its streets on a 25-year service life, the village needs to spend an average of $1 million per year on roadways, although costs in the next two years are expected to be higher because of this year’s harsh winter.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.

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