Orange Township trustees on July 19 decided to wait until next year and not put a renewal fire levy on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Orange Township trustees on July 19 decided to wait until next year and not put a renewal fire levy on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Trustees Rob Quigley, Nelson Katz and Jennifer Christian agreed they should not rush the issue to the ballot, instead taking time to educate the public on the need for a levy larger than the existing levy. The deadline to place an issue on the November ballot is Aug. 10. Trustees did not discuss when they might seek a levy in 2012.

Collections on the existing three-year, 5-mill levy will expire on Dec. 31, 2012. That levy raises about $4.6 million annually. The fire department has a $7 million annual budget. In recent years, the department has been able to maintain substantial cash carryovers through cost-saving measures, such as delaying some major purchases.

The 2010 carryover was about $4 million. Officials have projected those funds will continue to dwindle unless additional money is obtained through a levy.

Trustees recently agreed to ask the Delaware County auditor to certify a millage amount to raise $7 million a year to maintain existing fire department levels.

Katz, who is the public safety liaison, on July 19 told the other trustees that a 6.7-mill levy would be needed.

The existing levy costs homeowners $151.05 a year for each $100,000 of valuation. A 6.7-mill levy would cost the homeowner $205.19 per $100,000 of valuation, Katz said the auditor's office told him. The average residential valuation in Orange Township was $223,809 in April.

Katz said he is convinced, after talking to residents in recent weeks, they don't see a need for a levy this fall.

"We (trustees) need to do a better job explaining the need" for a levy, Katz said. "We must be on the ballot in 2012."

Quigley and Christian also agreed trustees should wait until next year.

"The more communication you have (with residents), the better," Christian said.

Resident Bob Ruhlman told trustees he was concerned about any levy in November, especially on the heels of Olentangy schools' successful levy in May.

"It's tough to justify that kind of (millage) increase," Ruhlman told trustees.

Also at the meeting, Quigley and Katz accepted Christian's resignation, effective Aug. 8.

She and her family are moving out of state. Quigley and Katz will have 30 days from that date to appoint a new trustees. Interested applicants should apply by Aug. 5, they said.

The appointed trustee will serve until Dec. 31. Because Christian was appointed a year ago to replace John Cassady when he resigned, anyone wishing to serve out the remaining two years of Cassady's term must run in the November election. Such people would have to file with the Delaware County Board of Elections by Aug. 10.

Quigley and Katz indicated it is unlikely they will appoint anyone before the filing deadline.

The two trustees praised Christian for her work as a trustee. She previously served on the community park board.

"It was quite an opportunity to serve the township. It's been an honor," Christian said. "I'm very sad to be moving on."

Trustees also:

Agreed the township park staff should remove dead ash trees that pose a safety issue at the Ro Park nature area. Beth Hugh, maintenance and parks director, told trustees the dead and dying trees, apparent victims of the emerald ash borer, can be removed between fall and next spring.

Hugh estimated as many as 60 percent of the trees in that wooded area are ashes. Replacement trees, such as oaks or maples, would be planted, she said.

Agreed to have the community park board develop a plan for scheduling some community events in the parks.

During a strategic planning session a few months ago, trustees decided more events are needed to help foster a community identity.

Trustees want the park board to focus on a music event, a touch-a-truck show at which township fire trucks and other township vehicles would be displayed, and a community movie night. Trustees agreed that having such events is a good way to get people out to mingle with their neighbors.

Appointed Doug Frazier to the new position of parks supervisor for $20 an hour. Rescheduled their Aug. 15 regular meeting to 6 p.m. Aug. 23.