Hilliard Northwest News

Brown Township on track to put fire levy on May ballot

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Brown Township trustees are expected Jan. 20 to adopt a resolution placing a 5.12-mill fire levy on the May 6 ballot.

The trustees adopted a resolution Dec. 16 asking the Franklin County auditor to determine the amount of revenue a 5.12-mill levy would generate.

Brown Township must submit the resolution to the Franklin County Board of Elections no later than 90 days prior to the May 6 election. Unless a special trustee meeting is scheduled, Jan. 20 is the last regularly scheduled meeting prior to the filing deadline.

Fiscal Officer Greg Ruwe had suggested a 5.16-mill levy Nov. 18, but township officials slightly decreased the millage after receiving revised property evaluations.

A 4.66-mill fire levy request that was rejected by voters in November would have generated an additional $142.71 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

The levy was necessary to keep in step with a 4.12-mill fire levy Hilliard and Norwich Township voters approved last May; Brown Township's contract for fire suppression and EMS services from Norwich Township stipulates that both townships have equal effective millage rates.

The contract does not address a remedy for Brown's levy failure, but Norwich officials advised Brown Township it needed to meet its financial obligation.

Brown Township will fall about $411,000 short next year in meeting its obligation to Norwich Township because no new revenue will be collected in 2014, Ruwe said.

Even if the second attempt in May is successful, the new revenue it would generate would not be collected until Jan. 1, 2015.

The additional millage Brown Township is seeking in May likely would be used to compensate for the revenue it cannot collect in 2014.

Brown Township trustees said they are opposed to tapping the cash reserve to cover the shortfall in 2014 and offered to compensate Norwich Township; however, no such agreement has been struck.

Brown Township trustees previously acknowledged they did little to promote the levy this fall and pledged to do a better job explaining the need for it.

"We have a fire levy to communicate," Trustee Joe Martin said Dec. 16, advising other trustees he had secured a secondary web domain for the township.

Brown Township currently uses a government-issued domain that, Martin said, he considers cumbersome. The township will maintain the site, but Martin suggested the township use the web address, browntwp.org, as a secondary address.

Martin said the new address is easier to remember and will lead users to township's website, brown.twp.franklin.oh.us.

Martin said he also reserved a Facebook page for Brown Township that will be used to post information about the fire levy.

In other business Dec. 16, the trustees approved temporary appropriations for 2014.

The trustees appropriated $333,000 to cover the township's operating expenses through the first quarter of 2014. They will be required to approve permanent appropriations by March 31.

The trustees also renewed an annual contact with Vector Disease Control for $4,619 for services that include mosquito spraying.

They also appropriated $30,000 for legal services in 2014 and approved a salary increase from $20 to $22 per hour for the township's snowplow drivers.

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