Rossford to try for 2 fire levies
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 17:30
ROSSFORD - City Council voted to seek renewals for two fire levies, but a request for new money for the department will have to wait until November.
The council unanimously voted to place a 1-mill renewal for fire protection and a 0.6-mill renewal for equipment and buildings on the May ballot.
The Public Safety Committee also recommended a request for a 0.5 mill levy for equipment and buildings, but that ran into opposition on council and failed to secure the five votes needed to pass it as an emergency measure.
Councilman Daniel Wagner, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said members decided to put each request up separately so if voters turned down the additional expenditures "we wouldn't lose basic services."
Councilman Robert Ruse said he didn't have a problem with the renewals, but felt that the request for new money should have been presented early enough so that it could be given three readings, instead of being pushed through at one meeting.
The request to put the items on the ballot must be at the Board of Elections by Feb. 5.
The request could be "pushed off to November," Ruse said.
If passed the money wouldn't start being collected and flowing into city coffers until 2015, City Administrator Ed Ciecka said.
The 1-mill renewal will generate $123,029 annually and the 0.6-mill renewal will generate $73,818. The additional 0.5-mill would generate $61,515 annually. Over the past five years the levies have collected an average of $205,723. The renewals fall short by about $90,000 of what the Fire Department has listed as their needs in the next several years.
Finance Director Karen Freeman said she didn't have figures yet on what the tax bite would be for homeowners.
Council Greg Marquette questioned the number of levies on the ballot. The Recreation Department has two replacement levies on the ballot as well.
Mayor Neil MacKinnon said he'd like to see them all passed.
Wagner said that ultimately voters would have the final say on how much money is spent.
Marquette, Wagner and Joe Minarcin all voted against approving the item as an emergency measure. That would have made the resolution effective immediately so it could be sent on to the Board of Elections. The measure needed five votes.
Later in the meeting Councilwoman Caroline Eckel said the move was the latest in several in which council committees have discussed issues and made recommendations, only to have them stymied when presented to council. That just slows down the work of council as issues get sent back to be mulled over some more.
She said that the fire levies had been discussed at the previous meeting.
Council president Larry Oberdorf said that it's frustrating when a committee and department heads do extensive research and deliberation, only to have their work delayed because others haven't done their research.
Ruse reiterated that he felt something as important as a request for new money ought to be presented in time for it to go through three readings.