Madison Township trustees continue to discuss possible options to shore up the township's dwindling budget for road repairs.

However, residents are unlikely to see a tax issue on the November ballot.

"It's not going to happen that fast, and if we do decide to put a levy on, I want to make sure that it is exactly what we need and no more," trustees Chairman John Pritchard said. "There's a big difference to me between what you want and what you need."

Township voters have not been kind to tax requests for roads, defeating a 3-mill issue in 2002 and a 2.9-mill request in 2005.

Trustees have talked about several options, including seeking a general-fund levy, which would affect all township residents, even those in Canal Winchester and Groveport; asking residents in the township's unincorporated areas to support a roads and bridges levy; or raising the township's inside millage.

Ohio law permits a government entity to collect inside millage, up to 10 mills, without going on the ballot.

With the third option, raising the inside millage, which impacts only residents living in the township's unincorporated areas, trustees also considered "rolling off" some of the township's fire levies to keep taxes from increasing.

Residents living in unincorporated areas would have had their taxes remain the same, and those who live in Canal Winchester and Groveport would have had taxes decrease because they are in incorporated areas and are not affected by the inside millage.

However, the trade-off was too steep, in Pritchard's opinion.

Raising the inside millage by 1.45 mills would have netted the roads department an additional $311,000, according to township fiscal officer Laurie Vermeer.

But to keep taxes from increasing for residents living in unincorporated areas of the township, the fire department would lose about $1.28 million to $1.35 million from levy reductions.

The fire department budget for this year, $13.3 million, accounts for most of the township's $18.6 million total appropriations, Vermeer said.

The department also had a budget carryover of nearly $8 million at the beginning of the year, which climbed to nearly $10 million by the end of June.

Trustee John Kershner, who has been supportive of the third option, also noted that between 2003 and 2018, fire-department appropriations have increased from $5.6 million to $12.3 million.

"It's been our goal to address (roads) for two years," he said.

"We've gone through two budgets cycles and done nothing with this being our No. 1 goal. This is the second year we've kicked that can down the road."

Currently, the township receives road funding from four sources, according to Vermeer.

They include a 0.6-mill roads-and-bridges levy ($152,200) and funds related to the gas tax ($162,700), motor-vehicle licensure tax ($21,000) and permissive motor-vehicle tax ($132,600).

In the meantime, the township expects to receive an additional $89,900 from the increase in the state gasoline tax and $80,840 from the license-plate tax.

"It will help, but it's not going to get us there," Pritchard said.

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