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LIBERTY FIRE DEPARTMENT Trustees race clock to put levy on ballot



Published: Thu, February 17, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The tax is scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

LIBERTY -- Township trustees are racing against the clock to get a 1.5-mill fire levy renewal on the May primary ballot.

Trustees met late Wednesday afternoon to approve placing the renewal on the ballot. State law mandates that elected officials hold two meetings on the matter before placing an issue on the ballot. With the deadline today at 4 p.m., officials will meet again at noon and hope to have all the paper work to the board of elections before the close of the day.

Trustees expressed concern that they are being asked to rush the matter.

& quot;I'd like it to be more professional and not rushed, & quot; Trustee Gary Litch said.

Trustee Jack Simon, agreed, saying the department heads should have a list of their levies and know when they need to be renewed.

& quot;We could have had this all done by now, & quot; Simon said.

Clerk John Fusco and Fire Chief Mike Durkin said they just realized this week that the levy, which generates $235,000, is set to expire at the end of the year.

Competing levies

Township officials and Liberty School officials, who attended the meeting, were also concerned that the fire levy would be on the ballot the same time as the school district's 7.9-mill levy that has been rejected three times.

School officials did not try to persuade trustees not to place the renewal on the ballot but stressed that their levy is very important to the district.

& quot;We are one levy away from a fiscal crisis, & quot; said school board president, Bob Lackey.

Durkin said he wants the renewal on the ballot in the spring in the event it fails so that he has another chance in the fall. It expires at the end of the year.

Trustees also voted to place an issue on the ballot to allow township residents to take advantage of a gas and electric aggregation program. If the issue passes, residents would be given the option to join or stay with their current providers. Aggregation would allow residents to band together to buy utilities, thereby getting them at a lower rate.

Simon said there would be at least two pubic meetings on the matter prior to the election.




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