Violet Township seeks 1.5-mill renewal levy for roads, bridges

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group
Violet Township is seeking the renewal of a five-year, 1.5-mill roads and bridges levy on the Nov. 3 ballot that would generate approximately $770,000 each year to pave and maintain the township's roughly 108 miles of roadway. This photo shows a portion of Harmon Road, near its intersection with Coventry Avenue, that received resurfacing earlier this year with funds generated from original levy which passed in March 2016.

Violet Township officials will seek the first renewal of a 1.5-mill levy next month that provides approximately $770,000 annually to maintain local roads and bridges. 

Voters approved the 1.5-mill levy in March 2016. That five-year levy is in its fourth year. The renewal request on the Nov. 3 ballot would extend it for another five years, beginning in January 2022. 

“It’s been four years, and this (if passed) will be the first renewal,” trustees Chairman Terry Dunlap said. “It’s for all of our road paving projects. 

“We have over 105 miles of road, some of which are multiple lanes.” 

In addition to general road resurfacing, funds from the levy are used for snow and ice removal, street-sign maintenance, culvert replacements and mowing in township rights of way. 

According to the Fairfield County Auditor’s Office, the levy's effective rate is about 1.2 mills. If approved, it would continue to cost residents about $42 annually per $100,000 of property value. 

Dunlap said township officials first proposed the road-and-bridges levy in 2016 because local property taxes no longer were keeping pace with the cost of paving materials and equipment. 

“The cost of materials has more than doubled since the levy has gone into effect,” he said. 

Dunlap said the township spends approximately $800,000 to $1 million each year to maintain its roadways. 

In addition to money from the levy, he said, the township receives funds for roadway upkeep from local shares of gasoline taxes and license plate taxes, as well as some support from the state budget. 

However, he said, the other funding sources fluctuate and are expected to be affected by fallout from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, including state budget cuts and people driving less this year. 

Without the levy, Dunlap said, the township would have to revert to bare-bones road maintenance. 

“We were getting behind and the only thing we could do was just keep up with potholes and crack-filling,” he said. “People expect smooth roads and fresh pavement. 

“This levy is nothing new. It will not be a raise in the taxes we passed four years ago.” 

Dunlap said all the revenues generated by the levy goes to road maintenance and equipment needed for that work. 

“None of this money goes to wages and benefits,” he said. “It’s all for materials and equipment to get the jobs done. 

“If we get behind, then it costs twice as much because when roads fall apart, we have to grind it down and rebuild it,” Dunlap said. “Having the levy is a more efficient expenditure of taxpayer dollars.” 

nellis@thisweeknews.com 

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