Hilliard residents likely will be asked to consider a fire levy renewal for the Norwich Township Fire Department on the primary ballot in May 2013.

Hilliard residents likely will be asked to consider a fire levy renewal for the Norwich Township Fire Department on the primary ballot in May 2013.

The trustees briefly discussed the levy May 15 at a three-hour planning session that preceded the regularly scheduled business meeting.

Plans have yet to be finalized, but Trustee Larry Earman called the levy a "high possibility."

The township last sought a fire levy renewal 14 years ago when voters approved a 6-mill levy. The effective rate of that levy is 4.077 mills.

The 1998 levy is one of six fire levies on the books. The oldest is a 1-mill levy approved in 1973 and being collected at 0.24 mills.

The six levies total 16 mills, but their combined effective millage rate currently is 7.34 mills.

The effective millage is the adjusted rate at which a levy is collected in order to generate the amount of revenue that voters approved. House Bill 920, which went into effect in 1976, effectively freezes voted property millage at the dollar amount collected in the first year a levy goes into effect. As property values increase, the law mandates the effective millage rates of most levies must decrease.

The trustees said the excellent stewardship of previous trustees has afforded Norwich Township the ability to wait more than a decade before considering a levy renewal, but escalating costs, particularly for medical benefits, require them to address the issue.

In other business at the May 15 planning session, the trustees discussed the pending expiration of a three-year contract with the Norwich Township Fire Department. The contract expires Dec. 31.

Trustees will commence negotiations later this year with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1723 to reach a contract renewal with the fire department.

Trustees also announced a new policy that requires IAFF Local 1723 to formally contract with the township for use of its backup medic unit for standby emergency medical services during football games at Hilliard's three high schools.

Trustees said liability and insurance considerations require a contract for use of the equipment.

In action at a succinct business meeting, trustees approved the removal of several ash trees infested by the emerald ash borer, and in the public right of way, from the 4000 block of Old Poste Road.