Licking County News

Nov. 6 ballot

If passed, fire levy renewal would reduce millage

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Rarely do residents have the opportunity to vote for reduced millage, but Pataskala-area residents will on Nov. 6.

The West Licking Joint Fire District has requested approval of a 1.5-mill, five-year property tax levy to renew the district's existing 2-mill levy.

Fire board member Mark Van Buren, the representative for Harrison Township, said the district can afford the reduced millage because since January, the district has charged "soft billing" on EMS runs. Soft billing is a collection of insurance receipts only for EMS runs.

"If people don't pay it, we don't send collections after them," he said.

The charge is written off.

Van Buren said the only reason he favored EMS soft billing is because he knew in time it could lower millage.

"If we don't do it, the insurance companies won't give the residents a break," he said. "I hope people understand that."

District Fiscal Officer Elisabeth Krugh said the 1.5-mill levy would generate $1,370,700 and cost property owners $45.94 per year per $100,000 of assessed property value. Licking County Deputy Auditor Cindy Haas said the current 2-mill levy costs about $60 per $100,000 of assessed property value.

Krugh said the revenue would be used for general operating expenses such as wages, benefits, pension, utilities, equipment and professional services.

"If the levy fails on the November 2012 ballot, we'll have two more opportunities to place it on the ballot in 2013," she said. "To my knowledge, there is no organized opposition."

Krugh previously said she projects EMS soft billing will provide the district with roughly $600,000 in additional revenue this year.

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