According to unofficial results from the Fayette County Board of Elections, with a vote of 291 (59.75 percent) for and 196 (40.25 percent) against, the Madison Township Fire Levy for .90 mills passed Tuesday evening at the 2016 general election.
“We are real pleased that the levy did pass,” Madison Township Fiscal Officer Myron Miller said. “Fire protection is very important. We were confident that it would pass, but you never know going into an election, especially going into a presidential election when the voter turnout is high. I have talked with the trustees and they are very pleased that it did pass.”
In 2003, voters in the township passed a 2.25-mill fire levy. According to 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.
Trustees in the township said they hoped residents would pass the levy for the .90 mills because overall it would cost taxpayers less. The reason is because of the state budget that 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.
Miller said that they contract with two separate fire protection services in Madison Township. 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 they receive for fire protection is turned over to these individual fire departments thanks to a specific fund set up that goes toward fire protection.
Specifically, Miller said that the money collected is used to help 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.
“We greatly appreciate the people’s confidence in voting for the levy,” Miller said. “(Also) in trusting us to do our jobs and providing us with the ability to do it with that support.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy