At the request of Delaware County officials, State Rep. Andrew Brenner is trying to ensure that some county residents aren’t taxed twice for 911 emergency services.
County officials here are considering a tax levy on the November ballot for 911 services, and Brenner, R-Powell, has sponsored legislation to eliminate the potential for double taxation. Currently, under the Ohio Revised Code, citizens could be taxed for both their city’s 911 services and the county’s.
House Bill 277 has been passed by the Ohio House and now moves onto the Senate for further consideration.
“I am appreciative that this problem was brought to my attention so that we could fix it for residents throughout the state of Ohio,” Brenner, R-Powell, said in a prepared statement last week. “I am also grateful the Ohio House immediately considered this legislation so it could be sent to the Senate for their prompt review.”
Dublin, Westerville and Columbus don’t receive 911 services from Delaware County even though parts of those cities are in Delaware County.
“We were the ones who requested the bill,” said Patrick Brandt, Delaware County director of 911 services.
Brenner’s HB 277 resolves the problem of citizens being double-taxed. “It is only right that people not be taxed twice,” Brenner said.
According to Brandt, the double taxation was discovered when county officials started working on the 911 tax levy for the November ballot.
Delaware’s 911 center is funded primarily by a 0.45-mill property tax levy — which generates $2.25 million annually — in addition to $456,000 budgeted from the county’s general fund, according to county communications manager Jane Hawes. The center to date has only spent $300,000 from the general fund, she added.
Delaware County has not yet placed a 911 levy on the November ballot. “We must put a levy on the November ballot, whether or not the new law is enacted, because the current levy expires at the end of 2016,” she said in an email.
HB 277 would also change the current state law regarding who is permitted to vote on a 911 service levy. The only voters who would cast ballots on a measure are the residents who use the 911 services.
Brandt said he is hoping the Senate will vote on and pass the bill before recessing at the end of May so county officials can continue working toward getting the county’s 911 tax levy on the November ballot.
More information has been added to an earlier version of this story.