Hilliard Northwest News

Norwich Township

67 percent of voters favor fire levy

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Roster judges Mary Kay Knight and Janet Ayala do their roster count at the Phyllis A. Ernst Senior Center polling station May 7. Hilliard voters had a 4.12-mill fire levy and a Republican City Council primary on the ballot.

Voters in Hilliard and Norwich Township Tuesday, May 7, overwhelmingly supported a 4.12-mill fire levy for the Norwich Township Fire Department.

Appearing as Issue 11 on the primary election ballot, voters approved the measure by a vote of 1,787 votes (67 percent) to 875 votes (33 percent).

“I am so impressed with the support we have from this community,” Fire Chief Bob Kaufman said.

“You pass a levy every day,” he said, referring to the work ethic of the fire department to provide the best service possible on a daily basis.

“I think our firefighters do that, and the community showed its support,” Kaufman said.

“It’s a great feeling to know the community supports us (and) it is a pleasure to serve this community.”

The levy will become effective Jan. 1, 2014, but will be collected for the 2013 tax year, because property tax is collected one year in arrears.

The levy will generate about $4 million annually and cost property owners an additional $126.18 per year per $100,000 of assessed property evaluation.

Norwich Township and Hilliard residents currently pay about $215 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value for the township’s other fire levies.

A total of 16 mills from six fire levies are on the books, but the cumulative effective millage rate being collected is 7.34 mills.

The last levy, a 6-mill issue, was approved in 1998.

“Not many fire departments can say they have gone 15 years between levies,” said Larry Earman, board of trustees chairman.

“The trustees thank all the firefighters, employees and the public for their support,” he said.

“The support of the community is further proof that the community deeply appreciates our fire department.”

The success of the levy ensures the department can continue to perform at its best, Earman said.

“Now, we can continue to improve a great operation,” he said.

Earman said township officials are pleased the levy’s success prevented the department from making tough budget-reducing choices.