Delaware County voters will find two levies for a countywide early warning siren system on Tuesday's ballot.

Delaware County voters will find two levies for a countywide early warning siren system on Tuesday's ballot.

One is a 0.4-mill levy that would raise about $2.5-million to establish the system. It would be collected for one year and would cost taxpayers about $12 per $100,000 of home value.

The second is a 0.1-mill levy, which also will be collected for one year, and would cost about $3 per $100,000 of home value and raise about $625,000.

The second levy will be used only to maintain and operate the system, despite what the ballot language says, said Tommy Thompson, president of the Delaware County commissioners.

The Ohio secretary of state's office removed from the smaller levy all language linking it to the siren system. According to state law, any levy that is not tied to capital purchases must appear on the ballot as going to "current expenses," not for any specific purpose, said assistant county prosecutor Kyle Rohrer.

Last month, the commissioners passed a non-binding resolution that declares their intent to use the money from a 0.1-mill levy only for the purpose originally described in the ballot language: maintenance and operation. It is not binding on future commissioners, however, although any changes would need to be made in a public meeting, Thompson said.

A committee of county, city, township and village officials, along with emergency service personnel -- including representatives from some areas that already have systems -- met for several months earlier this year to devise the siren system for the county.

Included in the 0.4-mill levy ballot language is a commitment by the commissioners to buy those existing siren systems that other governmental entities have installed in the city of Delaware, Scioto Township, and the villages of Galena and Sunbury, Thompson said.

While Delaware city officials support the levies, some residents question the need to replace the city's system.

"It is clear that they (city officials) are supporting this county plan just to get out of the siren business at the expense of the taxpayers," wrote city resident Huey Long in a letter to council.

Long said programs already are in place to reach those areas not currently served by a siren system including reverse-911, and weather radio and television.

"Tell the county to leave us out of their plan, we do not need it," he wrote in his letter to council.

While county residents can sign up for a reverse-911 program that will notify them via telephone if a tornado warning is issued, that doesn't help the thousands of visitors to Alum Creek State Park, said Berlin Township trustee and siren committee member Phil Panzarella. "This is the next logical step to show our visitors that we care about them and we want them to visit us.

"It's not only important that we have a countywide system for natural disasters," he said. The system also is needed in case of a man-made disaster, such as a train derailment involving hazardous materials.

Also Nov. 3, two local options will be on the ballot in Delaware city precincts 3-E and 4-B.

The 3-E option would allow off-premise Sunday sales at Walmart, 1760 U.S. Route 23S. The 4-B option would allow Sunday sales at Delaware Moose, 80 N. Sandusky St.