Licking County News

Two West Licking fire levies on fall ballot

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The West Licking Joint Fire District will seek two levy renewals in November.

The fire board on July 10 voted unanimously to put the two renewals on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Donna Hubner, the fire district's fiscal officer, said a five-year, 1-mill levy and a five-year, 2-mill levy both expire at the end of 2014.

Brad Cottrell, Licking County's chief deputy auditor, said in total, the fire district collects 11 mills from voters. The millage generates $7,834,383 annually and costs about $257.70 per $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

Cottrell said the expiring 2-mill levy costs $61.25 per $100,000 of assessed property valuation and generates $1.825 million annually and the expiring 1-mill levy costs $30.63 per $100,000 of assessed property valuation and generates $913,350 annually.

The fire district board in 2013 approved a $9.1 million total operating budget for 2014 that did not include capital improvements or emergency-medical service operations, Hubner said.

Hubner said the fire district has a separate 1-mill permanent capital-improvements levy approved in 2003 and a 3-mill permanent operating levy approved by voters in 1986.

The two permanent levies cost taxpayers $44.18 per $100,000 in assessed property valuation and generate $1.425 million annually, Cottrell said.

Hubner said the board on July 10 requested information on the projected deficit if the fire levies are not renewed by voters.

Though she did not have those figures last week, Hubner said, "it's one-third of our operating budget, so it wouldn't take very long for us to be in deficit mode" if the levies aren't renewed.

The board is expected to review projected deficits at a future meeting.

Hubner said the district also obtains revenue from two other operating levies:

• A 2.5-mill, five-year levy that expires in 2015. It generates an estimated $2,325,000 annually and costs $76.56 per $100,000 in assessed property valuation, according to Cottrell.

• A 1.5-mill, five-year levy, which voters approved in November 2012 to replace a 2-mill levy. It generates an estimated $1,342,000 annually and costs $45.09, per $100,000 in assessed property valuation, according to Cottrell.

The West Licking Joint Fire District was formed in 1982 to serve Pataskala, Kirkersville, portions of Reynoldsburg and Etna, Harrison, Jersey and Lima townships, according to the district's website.

Pataskala and Lima Township later merged, becoming one city.

The fire district continues to serve all those areas and is governed by a board that includes one representative from each jurisdiction.

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