Delaware News

Galena 'surprised' by levy's failure

Levy shot down with just 85 votes cast; village leaders mull options

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Galena officials have not yet decided whether they will place a levy on the November ballot after a replacement levy failed by seven votes last week.

The 2-mill levy was shot down Tuesday, May 6, with 46 votes cast against the proposal and 39 for it, according to final, unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections.

Galena Administrator Jeanna Burrell said village officials "certainly were surprised" by the results. She said none of the village's employees or elected officials can remember anyone ever running a campaign for or against the levy.

Burrell said no decisions have been made about whether the village will seek the levy again this year.

"It will be up to (Galena Village) Council if they want to put it on the ballot in November," she said.

The rejected levy would have generated about $38,000 annually for the village and would have cost property owners about $70 annually per $100,000 in property value.

The levy represented about 13 percent of the village's general fund income in 2013. Galena also has a 1-percent income tax.

The village's previous 2-mill levy expired in December 2013, and the village is making its last collection on that levy this year.

Burrell said she still needs to have discussions with council about what cuts will need to be made if additional funding can't be secured.

She said there's a good chance the village will not have funding to match potential grants in the near future. That could affect the completion of the Walnut Street reconstruction program and scuttle possible grant-funded improvements to parks and trails in the village, she said.

Burrell said she saw using levy dollars to seek grants as a boon to the village, as they could be used as matching funds for projects the village couldn't complete on its own.

"Most of the grants are tax dollars of some sort or another," she said. "We look at that as trying to bring some of your tax dollars back home."

Burrell said the true impact of the loss of levy funds likely would be clearer when the village's budgeting process begins this fall.

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