3 levy issues to be decided in Austintown
By Elise Franco
Township residents will have three levy issues to vote on come Nov. 8.
Up for renewal are levies for the road and parks departments.
The road levy, first passed in 1981, is 1.5 mills that will raise 415,136 each year for five years. This levy currently costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $22 per year, said Fiscal Officer Michael Kurish.
The parks levy, first passed in 1986, is 0.8-mills that will raise $309,049 each year for five years. This levy currently costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $16 per year, he said.
Voters also will decide on a new senior-services levy to fund that township’s Senior Center on Westchester Drive. The levy is 0.5 mills and would raise $309,202 each year for five years. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 about $16 per year, Kurish said.
Kurish said it’s imperative the renewal levies pass because of the funding the township already is losing through the phasing out of the tangible personal property tax and state budget cuts.
He said those losses could total more than $1.5 million of the township’s nearly $15 million budget.
Because the renewal levies are more than 20 years and were passed at a fixed rate, they’re not being collected at their full millage.
He said the road levy is currently collected at about 0.6-mills and the parks levy at 0.5-mills.
Trustee Lisa Oles said residents should understand that money from the road levy is not used solely for road resurfacing, but also for snow removal, salting, curb repairs, patching and street sweeping.
Oles said layoffs would happen, without question, if the renewals are voted down, adding that payroll is the township’s largest expense.
“I don’t think we’ve stressed enough the importance of passing the renewals,” she said.
Oles said the approval of the senior levy also is something residents should consider approving.
“I spend a lot of time at the senior center, and I see people walk in and leave with smiles on their faces,” she said. “It has made such a difference in the lives of so many people.”
Oles said the center, which currently is funded through donations, said she isn’t certain how long the center could remain open if the levy fails.
“Before you vote, at least come out and see what you’re voting for or against,” she said. “It’s such a positive thing, and it’s such a stepping stone because our ultimate goal is to get kids off the street and create a multigenerational center.”