Mixed levy results lead to funding challenges
Jefferson Township will continue to seek alternative and sustainable funding after one levy passed and another failed Nov. 6.
Voters approved a 2-mill levy for fire protection 4,120 to 2,318 (66 percent to 36 percent), according to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections. A 1.5-mill levy for streets and roads failed by 276 votes, 2,692 to 2,967.
"We heard anecdotally if you put on a road levy, we will support it rather than current expenses with areas like parks," said Tom Spring, township administrator. "It did seem to narrow the margin. I think that's the best it has done."
He said the township is limited in what it could do because of funding.
"We'll continue patching roads and mowing roadsides," he said. "We'll continue doing safety things that we can do. We'll continue to apply for grants and hope for some funding that way."
Spring said the township would continue to provide limited snow plowing and hope for another mild winter.
"We're pleased with voter confidence with the fire and EMS service vote," he said. "We'll continue to tighten our belts in the fire department."
The 2-mill renewal levy for fire protection is expected to generate $900,772.56 annually for five years. It will cost $61.25 annually for every $100,000 of assessed property value.
Despite levy approval, Spring said, the township will collect less revenue than the expiring levy because property values have decreased 6.5 percent to 7 percent.
"We will have to continue to cut costs because the renewal will generate less, but it will give us breathing room," he said.
Spring said the township still has important decisions to make for the future.
"We still want to find sustainable funding so we don't have to keep coming back to the voters," he said. "Most townships operate on permanent levies that stabilize funding. We're going to take a hard look at what colleagues are doing in other townships."
Prior to the election, trustees chairman Mike Rowan said the township is trying to meet the needs of what the community wants, in terms of service and quality of life.
In other local election results, a liquor option in Jefferson Township Precinct A was approved 574 to 212 for Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight at Flanagan's Pub, 3001 Reynoldsburg-New Albany Road, Blacklick.
A liquor option was approved by voters in Gahanna Precinct 2-D by a vote of 254 to 135 for Sunday sales from 10 a.m. to midnight at O'Toole's Irish Pub, 258 Granville St.