Truro Township trustees knew a second try to pass a 0.75-mill operating levy was failing by 9 p.m. May 6, so faces were gloomy at a gathering at Fire Station 161 on East Main Street.
The three trustees – Barb Strussion, Michael Shirey and Pat Mahaffey – along with administrators and volunteers, met around 8 p.m. Tuesday to tally election results.
After visiting most of 24 precincts, however, not one had more “yes” votes than “no” votes for Issue 27, said Strussion.
With votes in all 24 precincts tallied by the elections board early Wednesday morning, the tax issue was failing with 2,014 votes against (64.5 percent) and 1,106 votes in favor (35.5 percent), according to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.
“It was such a small request,” Strussion said. “We tried to visit as many voters as possible and passed out cards showing what they would pay for the levy, but I know times are hard.”
The 0.75-mill levy, if it had been approved by voters, would have cost homeowners an additional $26.25 per year in taxes for each $100,000 in property value. It would have generated about $348,000 per year for the township, according to Township Administrator Jason Nicodemus.
Voters rejected a levy for the same amount in November 2013 by a similar margin, with 2,449 votes or 63.54 percent cast against the tax issue and 1,405 votes or 36.46 percent in favor.
Strussion said the township has made as many cuts as possible.
“A 0.75-mill levy was the minimum we needed to get through and pay for necessary expenses,” she said. “Times are hard, but we have to run the township. People have to realize that we can’t guide the ship if it starts to flounder.”
Mike Shirey, a former Truro Township firefighter, said he talked to as many people as possible about the levy.
“People just don’t want to pay more taxes,” he said.
He said Truro Township Fire Department services would not be affected by the failure of the levy, but other township services could suffer.
“It could affect the roads, cemetery maintenance and other municipal services,” he said.
Mahaffey declined to comment on the failure of the levy.
A 3.9-mill fire levy was approved by township voters in November 2012. That levy cost homeowners an additional $119 per year in taxes for each $100,000 in property value.
Nicodemus said the township has already eliminated all non-mandatory general fund expenditures and is using cash reserves to balance its budget. He said staff training has been eliminated and the township has put off replacing equipment and maintenance items.
He said the estimated general fund budget projects a shortage of $130,000 by 2016.
The general fund services the governance structure, administrative operations and legal management of the township.
Trustees are paid $20,568 per year, a salary that is determined by the Ohio Revised Code, based on a township’s budget, Nicodemus said.
Truro Township provides fire, paramedic and other municipal services to 38,000 residents living in Truro Township, the village of Brice and the city of Reynoldsburg. The township website is at trurotwp.org.