The Madison Township Trustees are asking for support from township residents for an upcoming fire levy on Tuesday at the general election.
In 2003, voters in the township passed a 2.25-mill fire levy. According to Madison Township Fiscal Officer Myron Miller, due to the increase in property values, the millage has decreased over the past 13 years so that the effective tax rate on that levy is 1.1670 mills instead of 2.25. The tax money collected stays roughly the same as in 2o03 at 2.25, but is seen at a lower rate.
“Several will ask why not ask for a renewal of the 2.25 mills,” Miller wrote about the fire levy. “The reason we are not asking for renewal of the existing levy is because in 2014, the State of Ohio did away with any kind of rollback or reimbursement money to townships for any new levies passed. By leaving the 2003 levy in place, and asking for an additional .90 mills, it will actually cost less to landowners than renewing the existing levy.”
The reason it will cost less is because of what was passed in 2014. As part of Gov. John Kasich’s budget, he dropped the reimbursement of a portion of local township levies. Under this rollback program, the state paid the first 10 percent of the tax bill for all property owners plus 2.5 percent for owner-occupied homes. After the budget passed, the state has continued to pay that money on current levies but will no longer subsidize new levies.
Therefore, a new levy, for instance the .90-mill fire levy for Madison Township, would not have that portion covered by the state. Though it may only be a few dollars for land owners, a .90-mill would have less cost to the taxpayers than a renewal of the entire 2.25 mills.
“We contract with two separate fire protection services in Madison Township,” Miller said. “Two-thirds of the township is covered by the Tri-County Fire, located in Mount Sterling, and the other third is contracted with Bloomingburg-Paint Marion (BPM) Joint Fire District. All of the money we receive for fire protection is turned over to the individual fire department. It is a specific fund we have set up that goes toward fire protection, and that is all it can be used for.”
Specifically, the money used will help to keep trucks running, pay fire chiefs, upgrade and repair important fire fighting equipment and pay for the services to be provided to the people of the township among other uses. Miller said that the levy is essential in continuing that fire protection for the township.
“We want to encourage everyone to get out and vote,” Miller said. “The weather is supposed to be nice, and I know that poor weather has deterred voters from coming out in the past. Hopefully everyone will turn out though and vote for the fire levy.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy