Voters in western Licking County will decide levies for fire, parks and libraries when they go to the polls Tuesday.

Voters in western Licking County will decide levies for fire, parks and libraries when they go to the polls Tuesday.

They'll also see candidates for the Ohio Senate and House and for U.S. Senate and Congress.

Countywide, voters will decide whether to give the parks system its first dedicated revenue stream, a five-year, 0.2-mill property-tax levy that would raise about $740,000 annually and would cost about $6.13 per year for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

Since 1990, the county commissioners have funded parks from the general-fund budget, but last year the county cut the parks funding by 53 percent.

Parks director Russ Edgington said the district historically has operated at a budget of about $500,000 but next year expects to receive about $290,000 from the county.

The parks district's staff members are responsible for 1,500 acres of green space and more than 36 miles of bike trails. Park facilities include Infirmary Mound Park in Granville, Frederick R. Reese Preserve in Mary Ann Township, Lobdell Reserve in Alexandria, Morris Woods State Nature Preserve near Johnstown, Ohio Canal Greenway near Hebron, Palmer Road Swamp Preserve in Etna Township, Riverview Preserve in Newark, T.J. Evans Recreational Trail between west Newark and Johnstown, Taft Reserve and William C. Kraner Nature Center in Franklin Township and Tyler Powell Preserve in Pataskala. The parks see about 80,000 visitors annually.

In Jersey Township, voters north of state Route 161 will see a replacement fire levy in the amount of 1.6 mills. Approval would cost a total of about $49 annually for every $100,000 of assessed property value.

The levy goes toward a joint agreement with Monroe Township near Johnstown, which operates a fire department under Fire Chief Dudley Wright, who emphasized that his department relies upon a large volunteer fire service and avoids large capital expenditures for trucks and other equipment.

"The most recent ambulance we purchased cost 30 percent to 40 percent less than comparable units other fire departments are purchasing these days," Wright said. "We bought a unit that is very simple. There's no frills, it's all metal, there's no bells and whistles, no on-board computers. It's made out of metal and made to be refurbished at a fraction of the cost of a new truck. It has bolts in the side. You unbolt it, raise it with straps, drive the old chassis out, drive the new chassis in, bolt it back on. Literally you're out the door."

Residents of northern Licking County will decide whether to support the Alexandria library with a five-year, 1-mill levy that would cost about $31 annually per $100,000 of property value.

"Last year from the public library fund we received $253,000, and the year before that we received $318,000," library director Denise Shedloski said. "Every year since 2008 it has gone down."

The library has lost about a third of its staff, primarily through attrition, she said.

"We have cut our hours from 52 to 44 hours per week. We've cut our materials budget by 15 percent," she said. "We've cut our staffing through attrition, whenever anyone retired or went to college or took another job."