Two Liberty Township trustees say they want some state funding for local governments restored.

Two Liberty Township trustees say they want some state funding for local governments restored.

But the third trustee says the township has all the cash it needs.

At their May 20 meeting, trustees Curt Sybert and Mary Carducci voted to sign on to a letter to Ohio Sen. Kris Jordan (R-Powell) asking for the restoration of some of the $3 billion in cuts to the Local Government Fund made by Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio legislature two years ago.

Previously, the state had returned 3.68 percent of its general revenue to municipalities through the fund. That percentage was cut to 1.69 percent.

Local Government Fund revenue for Liberty Township dropped from $40,000 in 2010 to $31,700 in 2011, and further to $21,600 in 2012. For 2013, it's estimated to come in below $20,000. In 2010, dollars from the fund accounted for 4 percent of the township's general fund revenue.

Sybert and Carducci voted to sign an open letter requesting that about half of the eliminated funding be restored, particularly since state officials anticipate a $2 billion surplus by the end of fiscal year 2013. Under the proposal, the state would send 2.52 percent of overall revenues to the Local Government Fund.

"They've made some promises that local government will get some money floated down to them from what the state has taken away, in recognizing the hardships we've been put under," Sybert said. "Our goal is to try to remind them that we were told that in the past, and we hope the issue could be revisited."

Carducci said the township could use extra funds to pay for much-needed infrastructure costs such as road repairs.

"Something's going to have to give," she said. "I'd rather see that money come back to Liberty Township."

Trustee Melanie Leneghan opted not to sign the letter. She said Liberty Township has more than enough money for current operations and added asking for more revenue burdens Ohio taxpayers.

"The state has a budget, and if we ask for more money, that means your state income tax has to go up," she said. "Something has to give."

Township Administrator Dave Anderson said Leneghan's claim is off base; under the proposal, the current level of tax revenue would be distributed differently. Ohio taxpayers wouldn't have to pay more, he said.

Anderson said the state reneged on a pact with local governments by slashing the fund, which was established in the 1930s as part of a revenue-sharing agreement between the state and local municipalities.

But it's far from the biggest source of lost revenue for Liberty Township. The estate tax, eliminated entirely in 2011, constituted 34 percent of general-fund revenue for the township.

In 2010, it amounted to about $371,300 for the township in taxes on inherited property.

Liberty Township has seen some major budget woes recently.

Earlier this spring, it cut the fire department staff by 20 percent after voters shot down a levy in fall 2012.

Liberty Township's letter to Jordan comes in response to another open letter to state legislators requesting a boost to the Local Government Fund, backed by several organizations representing local governments, including the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Township Association, the Ohio Municipal League and the Ohio Parks & Recreation Association.