Delaware County commissioners on Thursday approved placing the county’s 911 levy renewal — with an increase in millage — on the Nov. 8 ballot, 12 days ahead of the Aug. 10 deadline.
“This would be the first increase in the levy’s millage in 10 years,” said Patrick Brandt, director of county 911 services.
Once commissioners approved the necessity for the levy, county Auditor George Kaitsa — attending the commission meeting — certified the $3.7 million tax levy for 911 emergency services.
A “double-taxation” issue was discovered by county officials while they were discussing renewal of the existing 911 tax levy. Parts of Columbus, Dublin and Westerville reside in Delaware County but are served by each of the municipalities’ 911 services and would have been taxed again for the county’s service.
Delaware City Manager Tom Homan on Thursday spoke of the help the 911 board received from State Rep. Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, to sponsor a bill to resolve the issue. “We’ve been discussing this levy for the last 18 months,” said Homan, a member of the 911 board. “We’ve spent almost a year addressing the 911 double-taxation issue.”
Jeff Wilson, chief of the BST&G Fire District, echoed Homan’s comments about the help from Brenner in getting legislation passed to eliminate the double taxation. Brenner’s bill eliminated the possibility of being double-taxed for 911 service.
“The necessity of 911 goes without saying,” Wilson said. “We want our residents to pick up that telephone, dial 911 and have that call come into our state-of-the-art center.”
According to statistics provided by Brandt, the county processed 42,795 calls to 911 and 71,633 non-emergency calls in 2015.
The proposed 911 levy is a renewal of the existing 0.45-mill levy with an increase of 0.18 mills — bringing the total to 0.63 mills.
If voters approve the issue, it will provide the county with over $1 million more than the current 911 levy generates. Homeowners will pay an annual total of $19.48 per $100,000 of market value with the additional 0.18 mills.
The 0.18-mill addition will generate $1,097,900 per year, Kaitsa said. The total for both millages would then generate $3.7 million annually for 911 services.
According to county officials, property owners would continue to receive a tax rollback from the state on the 0.45-mill portion of the levy but the additional 0.18 mills does not qualify for state rollbacks.
A homeowner with a $100,000 market-value home currently pays $13.18 in taxes per year for the current levy. The 0.18-mill increase on the levy will cost that homeowner an additional $6.30 per year, Kaitsa said.
County officials told The Gazette in May that the current levy has been generating $2.25 million per year. However, Brandt clarified Wednesday that the $2.25 million figure does not include the state rollbacks. The correct total amount generated by the current levy is $2.6 million. The current 911 levy expires at the end of 2016.
The county general fund has had to subsidize 911 services in the past. Budgeted in 2016 is $456,000 from the county general fund.
If the levy is passed by voters in November, the county general fund would no longer have to subsidize the 911 service, officials have said.