Rocky Fork Enterprise

Jefferson Township voters to decide fire, road levies


Jefferson Township trustee chairman Mike Rowan said leaders are trying to provide the services residents want in proposing two local issues on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Jefferson Township residents will decide on a 2-mill levy for fire protection and 1.5-mill levy for streets and roads when they go to the polls.

Early and absentee voting already has begun.

Township administrator Tom Spring said the 2-mill renewal levy for fire protection would generate $ 900,772.56 annually for five years. It will be on ballots throughout the township and would cost $61.25 annually for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

The 1.5-mill additional levy for streets and roads would generate $600,175.95 annually for five years. Spring said the road levy would be on ballots in the unincorporated areas (Road District) only. It would cost $45.94 annually for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Spring said the township currently has no voted levies for anything other than fire.

Rowan said every resident who has interacted with fire department personnel knows the department's professionalism and dedication.

"It's a positive response," he said. "Money is needed for staff and equipment. The most modern life-saving apparatus is what we want to be able to provide to our residents, and those things always come with a cost."

Rowan said Jefferson Township provides a good balance in running a fire department that is efficient cost-effective and provides excellent services.

"If it doesn't pass, we'll have to cut back on staff and equipment that's out and running," he said. "We don't want to do that. Running a fire department is an expensive operation."

With the road levy, Rowan said, the trustees are trying to match the level of financial support residents are willing to provide with the services they want.

"This is for roads only," he said. "We did have general expenses on before with roads, and the residents have not been in favor. This is roads only -- to repair and reconstruct roads, including winter maintenance, snow removal and ditch repair."

Rowan said road maintenance is less expensive than reconstructing roads.

"We could go without maintenance for months, a year or years," he said. "But if you don't do maintenance, roads deteriorate, and you'll have major reconstruction."

He said quality roads reduce wear and tear on residents' vehicles, and it's a convenience to have quality roads.

"It's also a home-value issue," Rowan said. "We've had people come and say they're trying to sell their house, but the road in front of their house is in terrible shape. It's just a matter of what our community wants, in terms of service and quality of life."

Spring told ThisWeek the road levy would allow the township to begin to address a backlog of crumbling roads, as a result of inadequate funds to fix them.

"The levy also would allow the township to begin preventive maintenance on the township's other roads to reduce the rate of deterioration and the associated higher costs that result from deferred maintenance," he said.

Jefferson Township has the second-highest number of lane miles of township roads to maintain (46 miles) in Franklin County and receives the second-lowest amount of funding per mile in gas taxes among the 17 townships. Prairie Township has the most roads to maintain and receives the lowest distribution of gas tax dollars per mile.

A liquor option also is proposed in Jefferson Township Precinct A for Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight at Flanagan's Pub, 3001 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, Blacklick.

A liquor option will be on the ballot for Gahanna Precinct 2-D for Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight at O'Toole's Irish Pub, 258 Granville St.

Another liquor option is on the ballot for Columbus Precinct 46-I for Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight at Oagies Sports Pub, 980 N. Waggoner Road.