Reynoldsburg News

Nov. 5 election

Truro Township seeks five-year operating levy

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Truro Township residents will see a five-year, 0.75-mill operating levy request on the fall ballot.

Trustee Barbara Strussion said additional tax revenue is needed to cover current operating expenses.

"I've been a trustee for the past 16 years and I know we have not put a tax issue for operating expenses on the ballot during that time," she said.

Township Administrator Jason Nicodemus said the 0.75-mill levy, if approved by voters, would generate about $348,000 per year.

He said it would cost homeowners an additional $22.97 per year in taxes for each $100,000 in property value.

"Our revenue has decreased significantly over the last two years because of state budget cuts," Nicodemus said. "In 2011, our general fund had revenue come in at about $246,000, while in 2012, we only received $145,000. At the end of 2013, revenue is expected to come in at $145,000 again.

"So when you are losing $200,000 in two years, you have a significant impact on your budget," he said. "We have depleted our carryover reserves to unsustainable levels."

Nicodemus said most of the expenses in the township budget are legislatively required expenditures, where reductions are not possible.

"For example, the salaries of elected officials are established by the Ohio Revised Code," he said. "We also have pass-through expenses, such as auditor and treasurer fees, state auto exam fees and election expenses. All of those fees have to be charged against the general fund."

He said townships may levy only one kind of tax -- a property tax.

"Our revenue has been constantly dropping," he said. "We are estimating only about $127,000 in revenue for 2014. We have an annual budget of about $285,000 so there will be a budget shortfall."

Nicodemus said Truro Township officials have been looking into ways to save money, possibly through shared services.

"We are exploring a new telephone option but have not found a lot of savings yet," he said. "The biggest expenses we have are the legislative salaries required and corresponding benefits, such as pension requirements, workmen's compensation and health insurance costs."

He said revenue from the tax levy would ensure township services remain the same.

"The money will help us with salaries and roads and cemetery upkeep -- generally everything that we can't take out of the fire fund," he said.

Township voters approved a 3.9-mill fire levy last November. It was expected to generate about $1.8 million per year for the Truro Township Fire Department and cost homeowners an additional $119 per year in taxes for each $100,000 in property value.

Nicodemus said anyone with questions about the 0.75-mill operating levy request should contact him at 614-866-1317.

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