Freedom Twp. asks for new, renewal levies

PEMBERVILLE — Freedom Township Trustees are asking for support for an increase in taxes for the fire department and a renewal of a tax for general operating expenses.

A 1.2-mill property tax is being requested for the fire department.

It will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as a renewal and increase: the township’s 0.4-mill levy would renew and a new 0.8-mill levy will be added.

According to the Wood County Auditor’s Office, the levy will collect $90,606 annually for three years if passed. For a $100,000 home, annual property taxes for this levy will increase to $39.12 a year from the $11.12 now being collected.

Freedom Township Fire Chief Duane Duane Martin said the 0.4-mill tax has been collected since 1980.

“With the increase in costs, we’re running out of money,” he said at an Oct.26 trustees’ meeting.

The only thing this money can be used for is equipment and apparatus, Martin said.

“This money is solely dedicated to keeping our fleet current,” he said.

Martin said the department asked for 3 mills in 2000, and proceeds from that levy are used for salaries and anything else that is needed.

That levy collects $185,000 a year and has not been increased in the last 22 years.

There was enough cushion at that time to cover all expenses, he said, and previously there was money left over from both levies, but that is no longer the case, he said.

Since 2000, the department has purchased a new tanker, a new ambulance, a chief’s vehicle, a used ambulance, a new engine and two used ladder trucks.

After 30 years, fire equipment can no longer be certified for insurance purposes and there are two pieces of equipment nearing that age, Martin said.

The department used grant funds to purchase new air packs, which is “a huge relief to the taxpayers,” he said.

The second proposed Freedom Township levy is a three-year, 1-mill renewal levy, to cover current township expenses.

According to the county auditor’s office, it will generate $66,016 annually and cost $ 27.81 to the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000.

This levy has been collected since 2013.