Delaware County’s 911 board unanimously voted Tuesday to seek a tax levy will generate $3.7 million annually for 911 emergency services, more than $1 million more than is being collected now.
The board will present a 0.45-mill renewal levy with an additional 0.18 mills to county commissioners Thursday, asking them to place the levy on the November 8 ballot.
The deadline for commissioners to get the levy on the November ballot is Aug. 10.
If approved by voters, the levy would renew an existing levy. The 0.18-mill addition would generate $1,097,900, according to county Auditor George Kaitsa, who said the total for both millages would generate $3.7 million annually.
The board had originally looked at adding 0.27 mills to either repair or replace a radio tower that is creating a dead spot in radio communication for the county.
The board on Tuesday held off on making a decision on the radio tower in the southeast corner of the county. Jeff Wilson, chief of BST&G Fire District, said the board didn’t want to rush the solution and just throw money at the problem. “We want to make sure it is the right solution more than anything else,” he said. “There are too many options on the table to make a strong decision.”
“There is still the possibility of the tower, just not right now,” Wilson said. “There is money in the budget to look at the best solution.”
The board last week decided to put the levy issue on hold last week to give board members more time to review information before going to the county auditor to set millage for the levy.
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 0.18 mills does not qualify for the state rollback.
“The board wanted a week to review all the information,” said Patrick Brandt, director of the county’s 911 center. “We looked at everything between 0.17 to 0.27 mills.”
Even with the existing 911 tax levy, 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.
The current 911 levy expires at the end of 2016.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.