Mifflin Township voters said yes to a different way of funding their fire services through a proposed property-tax levy.
Unofficial results released on Wednesday, April 29, by the Franklin County Board of Elections show the Mifflin Township Division of Fire’s levy being approved 4,306 votes to 2,325 votes, or 64.94% to 35.06%.
Mailed-in ballots postmarked by April 27 and received by May 8 will be counted with the official results, according to Aaron Sellers, Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman. He said election results must be certified by May 19.
Fire Chief Frederick Kauser said he is grateful for voters’ support, especially given what the community has experienced over the past two months with the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“Given that, we’re very grateful the people voted,” he said. “The plans haven’t changed. This will buy two more years of an operating levy while supporting apparatus, keeping us on a replacement schedule. It will advance the fire department in terms of our budgeting processes. That’s going to be a great relief and better way to operate in the future.”
Issue 17 is a transition from the fire department generally purchasing fire apparatus and ambulances and making building modifications using operating funds to a budget system in which all capital expenses will be managed separately, Kauser said.
The 0.6-mill capital levy will provide funds to purchase and maintain firefighting apparatus, ambulances and lifesaving rescue and medical equipment, as well as keep fire stations in shape.
It will cost $21 annually per $100,000 of home valuation and raise about $600,000 annually.
Melissa Rapp, the township’s public-information officer, said the levy would help extend the 10-year operating levy by two years and separate operating funds from capital funds in the future.
In the past, all major assets, including fleet and facilities, were purchasing using operating funds, she said.
Operating funds are primarily for firefighters’ salaries and other expenses, Rapp said.
Mifflin voters also appear to have approved a 3-mill capital levy the Mifflin Township Division of Police sought to fund the police portion of a new public-safety building in the unincorporated area.
Unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections show the issue being approved 110 votes to 99 votes, or 52.63 % to 47.37%.
That levy, Issue 16, was voted on only by residents living in the unincorporated portion of the township in northeast Columbus.
The tax will cost an average homeowner in unincorporated Mifflin Township approximately $50 a year based on $50,000 of home valuation, Rapp said.
The election was delayed from March 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic and was completed by mail-in absentee ballots, early in-person voting or voters dropping off ballots at county boards by 7:30 p.m. April 28.