Grove City Record

Jackson Township

Trustees point 3.75-mill fire levy toward ballot

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Jackson Township officials continue to move toward putting a fire levy on the November ballot.

The Jackson Township Board of Trustees voted 2-1 July 15 to declare a levy necessary and to request the Franklin County Auditor certify the revenue that would be generated by 3.75 mills.

Trustee Chairman David Burris and Trustee Jim Rauck voted in favor, and Trustee Stephen Bowshier dissented.

"I am 100 percent against raising taxes, but I am 110 percent against cutting personnel or services," Burris said. "I am not going to make cuts on the backs of our employees."

The board previously voted on July 8 to declare a levy necessary and to have the auditor's office certify the revenue that would be generated from 2-mill, 3-mill and 4-mill levies, which it has done.

Settling on 3.75 mills for the proposed levy to go before voters is based on the recommendation of Township Fiscal Officer Ron Grossman, according to a letter submitted to the trustees at the meeting.

In his letter, Grossman notes that the fire department has been running a deficit the past two years, resulting in money being diverted from the general fund to keep it in the black. In 2015, the fire department is facing a projected deficit of more than $400,000.

"This deficit will continue to grow larger each subsequent year up to $700,000 without significant cuts to operations or revenue increases," Grossman wrote. "Also, the fire department is facing very large capital expenditures for repairs and maintenance of the three older stations of a million dollars or more and another million for addition/replacement of the ladder (truck)."

A millage of 3.75 is projected to cost homeowners $131.25 annually per $100,000 of property value, and generate $3.6 million a year in additional revenue for the township.

Bowshier did not comment on his dissenting vote July 15 but previously said he is not convinced the township has explored all its options before resorting to a levy.

The next regular meeting of the trustees is scheduled for Aug. 12. However, a special meeting is tentatively set for Tuesday, July 29, to a vote on a resolution to send to the Franklin County Board of Elections that will set the millage.

For the levy to go on the Nov. 4 ballot, the board of elections has to certify it at least 90 days prior to the election, which would be Aug. 6.

Homeowners would pay $131.25 annually per $100,000 of property value if the levy passes Nov. 4, and generate $3.6 million a year for the township.

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