Gahanna residents will get to vote on a 3-mill replacement fire levy on the November ballot to support the Mifflin Township Fire Department.

Gahanna residents will get to vote on a 3-mill replacement fire levy on the November ballot to support the Mifflin Township Fire Department.

Residents in the unincorporated areas of the township will get to vote for a seventh time on a 4-mill road-improvement levy.

The fire levy was approved for placement on the ballot with little discussion among the Mifflin Township trustees during their Aug. 19 regular meeting, but the question on whether to proceed with the road levy prompted lengthy debate.

The Mifflin Township Fire Department provides fire and emergency medical services to the city of Gahanna and the unincorporated areas of the township.

Mifflin fire Chief Jim DeConnick recommended that the trustees vote to place a 3-mill levy on the ballot.

According to the Franklin County Auditor's Office, the levy would cost a total of $91.88 per year for each $100,000 of assessed property value, or an increase of about $22 annually.

Voters in 2000 approved a 3-mill continuing levy that generates nearly $2.2-million per year. It currently is being collected at an effective rate of 2.3 mills. The replacement levy would generate an additional $900,000 per year for the fire department's general budget, DeConnick said.

"We have made it last eight years," he said, adding that such levies usually last about five years before needing replaced.

Township trustees and officials were engaged in a lengthy debate on the road levy, but trustees ultimately voted unanimously to put it on the ballot. They hinted, however, that this probably would be the last time they will try. It has been defeated by voters in the unincorporated areas of the township six previous times; the last time it lost by fewer than 10 votes.

"I feel right now we're the most organized we've been township-wide" to get the levy approved, trustee Richard Angelou said in expressing support for trying one more time. He and others said they believe a heavier-than-usual turnout for the presidential election could help the levy's chances.

If approved, the 4-mill levy would cost $123 for each $100,000 of assessed property value and generate about $180,000 for paving roads and related work on the township's 14 miles of roadway.

Service director Calvin "Mac" McKnight said that amount is about quadruple his current annual budget for roadwork.

"There's lots of ways to spend that money," he said. The first priority would be to repair roads that desperately need attention, followed by street-light installation in some areas.

McKnight said the additional revenue also would be used to help procure federal grant money for larger projects.

"That is why we're trying to get this passed," he said.

Code-enforcement officer Steve Blake said, "We've come closer and closer every time."

He said a group of residents is prepared to lobby on behalf of the levy.

"It's an investment in the community," he said.

In other business:

Trustees postponed action on a request from DeConnick to purchase a reserve ladder truck from Orange Township in Delaware County for $80,000. DeConnick said his department has used the truck in the past when its own ladder truck was unavailable for six months because of repairs.

"We need to have reliable service to provide fire protection to residents in a manner they are accustomed to," DeConnick said.

Trustees approved the payment of $42,000 to cover the cost of annual medical physicals for all firefighters.

The trustees' next regular meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at the township hall, 118 Olde Ridenour Road. They will hold a monthly staff meeting at 10 a.m. Sept. 8, during which bids will be opened for a new heavy-duty rescue vehicle for the fire department.

Richard Angelou