Jerome fire levy leads full slate of issues on area ballots

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Jerome Township officials are hoping once again to pass a proposed fire levy.

Voters will see a renewal of the 2011 2.9 mill levy with an additional 2.9 mill fire/EMS operations levy on the November ballot.

Fire Chief Douglas Stewart has emphasized at multiple township trustees meetings that the renewal levy is not a new tax.

Instead, it will continue to collect at its current rate of 2.09 mills.

The additional 2.9 mill levy will result in an increased rate of approximately $100 per $100,000 of home market value per year.

Stewart has also noted the funds will not be used to create a new fire station, but for operational expenses such as personnel and equipment.

Namely, Stewart said the levy would sustain the positions created by the SAFER Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The grant funds the salaries and benefits of nine new firefighters for three years, but the fire chief has said an additional source of revenue is essential to keeping the positions in place.

Additionally, Stewart said fire and EMS units are understaffed – even with the SAFER positions – and need additional units to service the growing area.

He said response travel time exceeds 10-12 minutes in some areas of the township and units are cross-staffed and rely heavily on mutual aid from other agencies.

According to information from the township, the Board of Trustees have asked property owners in the township for an increase in funding for the fire department twice since it was established in 1991-92.

“It is almost like some property owners want to punish the Board and the Fire Division for being so fiscally responsible with their tax dollars for so many years,” Stewart wrote in a frequently asked questions document.

For that reason, Stewart said the fire department “has seen a steady increase in calls for service in the past five years with no increase in revenue.”

Ultimately, township officials have repeatedly shared a sentiment that residents’ safety is at risk if a levy is not passed.

Township residents have previously rejected a 5.5. mill levy on the November 2019 ballot and a 3.5 mill levy on the March ballot.

Stewart encouraged residents with questions about the upcoming levy to contact him at (614) 873-8990 or dstewart@jerometownship.com.

Also on the ballot:

– Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities is asking voters to renew a 3.8 mill, five-year levy to fund the board operations. Because it is a renewal, it means no additional tax dollars if passed.

The levy is not new money and the owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $71.92 a year. The levy will generate an estimated $4,527,811 annually.

UCDD officials stressed the organization services 838 clients, from newborns to seniors, marking a 27% increase in participants over the last four years. When the levy was passed originally in 2001, UCDD had a $5.6 million budget and serviced 340 clients.

Officials say the budget, more than $15 million for this year, funds early intervention for babies and toddlers; job assistance for adults with disabilities; the Harold Lewis Center Special Needs Preschool; speech, occupational and physical therapy; in-home residential support; and Special Olympics.

Officials said if the levy fails they will “fall short in meeting the necessities of local individuals who need us most.”

– Fairbanks School District is asking voters to renew a one-quarter percent income tax for district residents for another five years. Money from the levy will be used for permanent improvements in the district.

Superintendent Adham Schirg said the levy, originally passed in 2006, has been renewed several times. The levy collects about $2.50 for every $1,000 of income for district residents and generates about $520,000 a year.

He said funds have been used for things like replacing the middle school roof, purchase of busses, technology infrastructure creation and floor repair.

“This money is used to support the facilities and permeant improvements we need to provide for the outstanding teaching and learning in our district,” Schirg said.

– Voters in the North Union School District will decide whether to renew a 20-year, 2.95 mill emergency requirements levy. According to district officials, the millage is reduced to collect a flat funding rate of about $680,000 per year for the operation of buildings.

“This levy is very important to the financial stability of our district,” according to information from the district.

Officials have said the money has been used for hiring teachers; athletic facilities, programs and support; expansion of arts programming and curriculum; expanded opportunities for students to earn more industry recognized credentials as part of the career technical programs; operation and improvement of educational programs; purchase textbooks; bus replacement; great teachers and staff that leads to continued success in learning and achievement.

“Our community has provided the North Union Local School District with beautiful facilities and we have the responsibility to keep them operationally strong,” according to information from the district. “Expenses today continue to increase for our school district.”

– Darby Township is looking to renew a 1.65 mill levy for five years to pay for fire and a public safety officer. The levy will not mean any new money for property owners. The levy is not new money and the owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $46.14 a year. The levy will generate an estimated $123,405 annually.

– Liberty Townships is seeking a five-year renewal of a 1 mill fire levy. If passed, property owners will continue to pay the same amount for the levy. The levy is not new money and the owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $30.34 a year. The levy will generate an estimated $62,379 annually.

– Paris Township residents will have the opportunity to vote on a three-year, 5.9 mill fire levy. The levy will mean no additional money for property owners. The levy is not new money and the owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $1172.69 a year. The levy will generate an estimated $287,391 annually.

– Union Township voters, including those in Milford Center, will decide the fate of a 5.5 mill, five-year levy to provide fire protection. The levy is not new money and the owner of a $100,000 home will continue to pay $157.04 a year. The levy will generate an estimated $255,518 annually.

– The Parkway Drive Thru is asking voters in the Allen Township 2 precinct to approve a pair of liquor options including Sunday sales.

– Brewery 1487, in Jerome Township Precinct 2, is asking voters to approve a pair of liquor options including the sale of spiritous liquor and Sunday sales.

 



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