Hilliard Northwest News

Brown Township

Trustees believe second attempt at fire levy will be successful


Brown Township trustees say they are optimistic the township's second attempt at a fire levy will be successful, in part because of a concentrated effort to promote the levy.

It will appear as Issue 20 on the May 6 primary ballot.

If approved, the 5.12-mill fire levy would become effective Jan. 1, 2015, and would generate $455,016 annually. It would cost homeowners an additional $179 a year per $100,000 of assessed property value, according to Brown Township Fiscal Officer Greg Ruwe.

Township residents currently pay $210.79 per $100,000 of assessed property value, the result of two previous fire levies, approved in 1994 and 2004 that are being collected at 4.15 mills and 2.74 mills, respectively.

Last November, Brown Township voters rejected a 4.66-mill fire levy by a vote of 224-171.

The levy was needed to maintain an identical effective millage rate with residents of Norwich Township, where voters approved a 4.12-mill fire levy in May 2013.

The Norwich Township Fire Department provides fire and emergency-medical services to Brown Township's approximately 790 households.

The second levy attempt is nearly one-half mill greater than the first attempt to compensate for the loss of tax revenue in 2014.

"I think most people understand the value and the need (for fire and EMS service) and we will get the support we need," said Tim Shade, chairman of the committee promoting Issue 20, at the trustees' March 17 meeting.

The committee has purchased 250 standard yard signs, as well as five 4-by-8-foot yard signs to be placed at strategic locations in the township, Shade said.

Ruwe said township officials also seek to increase voter turnout in May.

Only 395 of the township's 1,749 registered voters -- about 22 percent -- voted last year.

"We can't let less than one-quarter of our voters determine (the fate of the levy)," Ruwe said.

Shade said in addition to telling residents about the why the levy is needed and explaining the reason for the millage, the committee wants to make as many residents as possible aware of the issue.

"If they are aware, I think they will support it," Trustee Joe Martin said.

In action at the meeting, the trustees unanimously approved appropriations for 2014 in the amount of $1,416,066, which accounts for 95 percent of all appropriations.

The appropriations included $360,000 for the general fund; $629,066 for the fire department; and $360,000 for the road-maintenance department.