Genoa Township will have levies on the November ballot for fire/EMS, parks and police.
For the first time, township residents will be asked to fund their parks with a specific dedicated levy. The three-year, 0.6-mills levy equates to $21 annually per $100,000 in property valuation.
To make up for the new levy, two other operating levies have reduced their millage. There is a 5.3-mills (a reduction of 0.2 mills) fire/EMS regular five-year renewal levy, a reduction of $5.60 annually, or $148.36 annually per $100,000 in property valuation. Also, there is a 4.2-mills (a reduction of 0.4 mills) police regular five-year renewal levy, a reduction of $11.25 annually, or $118.10 annually per $100,000 in property valuation.
Although the total mills being taxed will remain the same, the township said there will be an estimated increase of $4.15 per $100,000 of property valuation as a result of a 10% rollback for the fire and police levies.
Although there is a pandemic going on, the five years will be up on the fire and police operating levies at the end of 2020, so they have to go on the ballot for voter consideration. The operating levies’ revenue covers expenses for the departments, and the township’s leaders reviewed the operating budget to decide whether they could lower the millage.
In the case of the Genoa Township Fire Department, the Genoa Township Board of Trustees approved in 2016 a proposal to bill insurance companies for medical transportation at no additional expense to residents. This billing program has allowed the department to maintain services, purchase a new vehicle, and reduce the regular operating levy.
The Genoa Township Police Department has saved costs in terms of township-funded medical insurance premiums and reduced workers’ compensation expenses. The levy on the November ballot funds operating expenses for the department, which includes employee salaries, benefits, equipment, supplies and vehicles. In addition, two officers are expected to be hired over the next five years.
Genoa Township has a separate voter-approved bond levy, which is being used to construct a new police station. The bond will be paid off at the end of 10 years and will no longer appear on property tax bills. The operating levy and bond levy funds cannot be mixed or shifted.
Currently, park maintenance is paid from Genoa Township’s General Fund and is not guaranteed. The general fund pays for township administration and can be transferred to other funds for unbudgeted items. However, the repeal of Ohio’s Estate Tax in 2013 has impacted general funds statewide.
“Transferring the expenses of the parks to a special revenue fund will simultaneously extend the general fund while increasing investment in township parks,” states the township on its website. The park fund would pay for maintenance costs, and any remaining revenue would be used for park improvement projects.
The Parks Advisory Committee and township trustees together decided items from the newly-adopted Park and Trail Master Plan would be prioritized if the levy passes. In order of importance, they are: Increasing trail connections; adding restrooms and facilities to Hilmar and Worthington Road parks; install hiking trail at Fleur Woods; possibly restoring the stream at Center Green Park; and preserve and restore historic buildings in the township.
Genoa Township currently spends $210,543 for Parks & Recreation. Two similar-sized townships in Delaware County spend more: Liberty Township at $700,000 and Orange Township at $1.2 million.
For more information, visit www.genoatwp.com/election2020.
• Voter registration deadline: Monday, Oct. 5
• Early voting begins: Tuesday, Oct. 6
• Request absentee ballot: Now through Saturday, Oct. 24, at noon
• Absentee ballot submission: Postmarked Nov. 2 (if by mail) or Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. (delivered)
• Election Day: Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.