Voters in some Warren County communities will consider more than $5.5 million in property tax levies for police and fire protection, ambulance service and road repairs in the May 7 election.
Campaigns have begun in Waynesville, Springboro, Franklin Twp. and Carlisle. Officials say the taxes are needed to continue existing levels of service.
A request for a continuing 4.5 mill levy in Clearcreek Twp. is expected to raise an additional $4.4 million a year for the fire protection and ambulance service. The levy is expected to add $137.81 in property taxes for every $100,000 in property value.
“If the levy fails, then the voters have voiced their opinion that they desire a smaller fire and EMS force,” Clearcreek Fire District Fire Chief Bob Kidd said in an email.
Staff cuts or station closures could slow response time, particularly in cases where two calls come in at once, as was the case in 1,084 of 2,735 calls in 2012, Kidd said.
By the end of 2014, a $2 million deficit is projected.
Levy supporters also point out steps have been taken to rein in expenses and this is the first levy sought in 12 years, while the city and township have both continued to grow. They warn additional capital improvements are also needed.
Opponents say trustees should dip into general fund reserves that have grown to more than $13 million before going back to voters. “They are collecting way too much tax money now,” said “No Tax ” Jack Chrisman, a past trustee candidate.
To the east in Waynesville, village voters will consider two five-year property tax renewals, 1 mill for street repairs and 7 mills for police protection. The police levy would raise $364,600 a year and cost $214.38 for every $100,000 in property value - the street levy $52,100 a year and $30.62 a year per $100,000 in valuation.
The police levy funds virtually the entire department, Mayor David Stubbbs said. Failure of the levy would prompt a return to the ballot before any cuts, he said.
The road levy, in combination with state funding, enables the village to keep roads in repair, according to Stubbs.
To the west in Franklin Twp. and Carlisle, voters will consider a continuing 2.61 mill levy for ambulance service expected to raise an additional $710,000 a year and cost property owners another $80 per $100,000 valuation.
Local leaders supporting each levy plan to answer voters’ questions in public meetings in the weeks leading up to the election.
“If you tell the citizens what you’re doing, they’ll support it,” Stubbs said.
Continued uncertainty about area employment also concerns levy backers. In Waynesville, Stubb said residents were awaiting announcements about job cuts expected at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
“I think people are still nervous about the economy,” he said.
The Village Council will hold meetings on the police and street levies at 7 p.m. Monday and 7 p.m. April 29 at the government center, 1400 Lytle Road. For information, call 513-897-8015.
Town hall meetings will be at 7 p.m. April 18 and 7 p.m. April 25 at Fire Station 21, 925 South Main St., Springboro. For information, 937-748-2766.
6 p.m. April 18, Hunter Fire Station, 3773 Robinson-Vail Road, Frankln Twp.
6 p.m. April 25, Franklin Twp. Administration Building,, 418 Fairview Dr., Carlisle.
For information, 937-746-3471