Pickerington Times-Sun

Violet Township

Paperwork filed for 3.8 mill fire levy on May primary ballot

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Subsequent to a special meeting of the Violet Township Board of Trustees, the Violet Township Fire Department filed the paperwork to place a 3.8-mill fire levy on the May 6 primary election ballot.

"All documentation required by law was filed with the Fairfield County Board of Elections on Jan. 22, two weeks in advance of the filing deadline," said Violet Fire Chief John Eisel.

According to the certificate of the Fairfield County Auditor, a 3.8-mill fire levy would equate to an additional cost of $133 annually for the owner of a $100,000 residence, Eisel said.

He said the levy would generate an additional $3.7 million annually based on the nearly $990 million property valuation of the entire fire department service area.

The Violet Township trustees passed a resolution 3-0 in a special meeting Jan. 22 authorizing Eisel to move forward and file the paperwork to get the fire levy on the ballot.

Eisel said the next step is the formation of a "ballot committee" as authorized by the Ohio Secretary of State.

"The ballot committee will allow us to find, produce and distribute campaign materials in accordance to the election laws," he said.

The fire levy's ballot committee has been formed and filed with the Fairfield County Board of Elections and campaign materials are in the process of being developed, Eisel said.

"The campaign committee has been named "Friends for the Fire Levy," he said.

Violet Township voters approve a fire levy in 2002. Eisel has gone on record to say the fire department held off as long as it could before going back to the voters.

However, with increased expenses and demand for services in a growing region, the time was ripe to seek additional funding, he said.

Eisel said the biggest challenge will be to get township voters on board to understand a fire levy is crucial for the continued safety of township residents and their property.

"As with any levy, it will be vital that we have the opportunity to educate our community, and clearly demonstrate and articulate the need," Eisel said.

A provision in the ballot language approved by the Violet Township trustees mandates any fire levy money can only be used for specific things.

"In working with the (Fairfield) County Prosecutor, the ballot language that is contained in (the Ohio Revised Code) defines exactly what the funds can be utilized for," Eisel said.

"The language essentially allows us to utilize the funds for all aspects of our service delivery, including apparatus, facilities, personnel, emergency medical services and communications."

He said the language also restricts levy funds to being used only for the listed purposes.

"Meaning that the revenues must be specifically utilized for the operations of the fire department, and cannot be utilized in a general fund, or to subsidize other township operations," Eisel said.

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