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Lawrence County voters to decide on numerous levies

IRONTON — Residents of Lawrence County will be asked on Election Day to vote on a number of local levies depending on where they live.

Voters in Proctorville and Upper Township will decide whether or not to renew long existing levies, while in Athalia they will choose whether or not to enact two new levies.

Chris Kline, deputy chief auditor, said residents who are curious what the levies will mean for their individual tax bills can use the office’s online calculator to find out.

It is available at www.lawrencecountyauditor.org

Athalia

Residents of the Village of Athalia will have the opportunity to decide on two additional tax levies. Mayor Gary Simpson said the levies are the first proposed tax levies he can remember back to 1988.

The first proposed levy will raise revenue to cover current expenses in the Village of Athalia including covering the electric bill for streetlights and its annual contract with Rome Volunteer Fire Department.

If passed, the current expense levy will add 2 mil, or 20 cents for each dollar of valuation for each $100 of valuation to current tax rates. According to the Lawrence County Auditor’s office, the levy will raise $6,000 annually. If passed, the levy will last five years beginning in 2011 but will not be due until 2012.

The second proposed levy would only fund fire protection in Athalia. If passed, it will add one mil, or 10 cents to each $100 of valuation to current tax rates.

It will raise approximately $3,000 annually and would last for five years.

If the current expense levy passes, funds from it will be used to pay off the village’s debt and to operate its 39 streetlights, which cost about $400 a month to operate, Simpson said. It also will pay the cost of the village’s $200 annual contract with the RVFD.

The contract is necessary for insurance purposes, Simpson explained, that without it the city would be liable in the event of a fire related accident, injury or death.

He added, “At no time has any fire department ever said they wouldn’t come without a contract but we are wanting to lessen the burden.”

If both levies pass, the village will no longer pay for the annual contract from the general fund. The department will instead get the proceeds of the levy, which would go in part to securing fire hydrants for Athalia.

“The fire department has the inside track on getting fire hydrants,” said Simpson who added the levy could help the department secure additional grant funding.

In fact, the passage of the levies could help homeowners save money in the long run. The village’s current Insurance Survey Organization or ISO rating, which influences policy rates, is currently a six but without a fire contract could jump as high as a nine.

If that happens, homeowner insurance rates could increase several hundred dollars a year.

Upper Township

Residents of Upper Township are being asked to renew, for five years, the current tax of 1 mil or 10 cents for every $100 of valuation, for fire protection and emergency medical services.

According to the auditor’s office, the levy will bring in approximately $23,155 annually in general fund revenue for the Upper Township Volunteer Fire Department.

Chief Jeff Scott said the levy, which has been in place for many years, is essential for the fire department to operate and maintain its equipment.

“It allows us to maintain what we got,” he said. “A lot of our equipment we’ve obtained with grants but it requires continual upkeep and maintenance.”

Scott said the levy proceeds allow the fire department to apply for large grants that require local matching funds; such as the one it received to purchase its new tanker truck. He said he would like to thank the public for its continued support.

“Without their support we couldn’t keep (the department) running and operating like we do,” he said.

Proctorville

Village of Proctorville residents will vote to renew to existing levies, one for current expenses and another for fire protection, both for five years.

The current expense levy, a 2.5 mil or 25 cents for every $100 of valuation tax, will raise approximately $10,500 annually, according to the auditor’s office.

The fire protection levy, a 1.5 mil or 15 cents for every $100 of valuation, will raise approximately $5,680 per year for the fire department.

Village administrator Rick Dunfee said the levies have both been in place for many years and are necessary to keep the street lights on in town and the fire department operating. He pointed out renewing the levies will not raise taxes on residents.

“It’s not a new tax. It’s just a continuous levy that will keep the village lit up and protected from fire. It’s a good levy. It’s not a bad tax,” Dunfee said.