Orange Township trustees voted 2-1 Tuesday during a special meeting to renew a 1-mill parks levy and place a new 0.5-mill road levy on the November ballot.
Trustee Lisa Knapp cast the dissenting vote.
Trustee Debbie Taranto said, “The board will send the levies to the board of elections to make sure the language is correct and to place them on the Nov. 8 ballot.”
During the meeting, Beth Hugh, township maintenance and park director, told trustees they could reduce the current 1.5-mill park levy to 1 mill and apply the 0.5 mill to a new levy for road improvements. “We’ve been successful in getting (park) grants,” Hugh said. “We’re saving money.”
The 1.5-mill park levy expires after this year.
According to township Administrator Lee Bodnar, the current 1.5-mill park levy produces $1.3 million per year.
However, if voters approve the 1-mill park renewal levy and the new 0.5-mill road improvement levy, more than $1.5 million a year would be generated, according to Delaware County Auditor George Kaitsa.
He said a 1-mill park levy renewal will yield $1 million per year while a new 0.5-mill road levy will produce $578,000 per year, if they are approved by voters.
The 0.5-mill would not be eligible for state rollbacks in property taxes.
Bodnar said the township currently has $12 million in projects either started or scheduled to start on the books with $6 million in cash reserves for parks.
According Bodnar, the township faces having 50 miles of residential roads that will soon break down at the same time, putting a large burden on the general fund. “All those roads will deteriorate at the same rate,” he said. “The cost will be too heavy for the township to maintain all of the roads.”
Trustee Robert Quigley said last week that trustees in the past had insisted on a $500,000 cap on the amount used for road improvements from the township’s general fund. “We never have enough,” he said. “I say we do as Beth (Hugh) suggest. Take it from the parks levy and use it for the roads.”
Hugh said $258,000 has been spent on road improvements from the general fund already this year.
“We have always had to cut back on the amount of roads we repair,” Quigley said last week. “The general fund isn’t working.”
However, Quigley said he does not see the 0.5-mill road levy being able to sustain the funding of the roads alone. “The 0.5 mills won’t work without the general fund.”
The deadline for getting issues on the November ballot is Aug. 10.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.
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