Archived Story

2 levies on ballot

Published 12:01am Sunday, November 4, 2012

Voters will have the chance to weigh in on a recreation levy for the City of Ironton and a fire protection levy for Rome Township when they go to the polls Tuesday.

The half-mill recreation levy to go on for five years is a replacement of the current levy that began in 2008. However, the city has had a recreation levy for at least the past 30 years, according to Brett Thomas, the city’s parks and recreation director.

“It goes for cutting the grass to taking care of the parks to running the several youth basketball programs and cheerleading,” Thomas said.

The parks that are funded through the levy are Moulton Field, Etna Street, the Eighth Street, soccer fields and the new Splash Park.

“We have an average of 16 to 18 acres a week to cut,” Thomas said.

The youth basketball league is open to students from kindergarten through sixth grade. Last year there were 27 teams with 220 youth participating. The cheerleading program is also open to the same age group and had 70 involved last year.

“It is very essential for kids to stay involved healthwise,” Thomas said. “We want the best for our kids in the community and to give them opportunities to move forward in youth things.”

If the levy passes, it will bring in about $2,500 more than the current one.

“A replacement starts over like a new levy,” Chris Kline, deputy auditor, said.

The levy will bring in $63,500. If the levy had been a renewal, it would have brought in $61,000.

“We are asking for the same half mill,” Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship said. “Due to the property values increasing, that makes it a replacement.”

On a property valued at $150,000, the annual cost will be $22.97. Currently on a property of the same value the tax is $22.55 a year.

“It is a minimal amount (to the taxpayers) to continue the services for our youth,” Blankenship said. “We would ask the community to support this program. Without it we are going to lose youth recreation.”

A one-mill renewal fire levy will be on the ballot for Rome Township voters. It would bring $79,097. On a $150,000 house the tax will remain at $45.10.

This is the second renewal of the levy, which will be on for another five years.

“We use it to purchase equipment, purchase apparatus and purchase fire hydrants and help fund the smoke detector program,” according to Tate Tooley, assistant fire chief for the township volunteer department.

The smoke detector program provides detectors to township residents free of charge and the department will install them, if needed.

“We started with a program called SAFE or Smoke Alarms for Everyone through the state fire marshal,” Tooley said. “Their funding was cut and they were not able to provide detectors. We see that as extremely important. We approached the trustees to use part of the levy money.”

In the next few months the department will install 10 new hydrants — each costing $3,000. The last time the department bought a fire engine was in 2008 at a cost of $360,000.

“Fire protection money is not used to pay our (expenses),” Tooley said. “We want to make sure they understand it is a renewal. It won’t raise their taxes at all. It will remain the same amount that is on their taxes. It is not getting any cheaper to run a fire department. Inflation in general affects us.”

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