By Elise Franco
The three replacement levies that voters will see on the November ballot would generate an additional $1.1 million for the fire department if approved.
Township trustees voted during Monday’s meeting to place three replacement fire levies on the ballot. Each of the levies would be good for five years if approved by voters.
A 1.0-mill levy, originally approved in 1985, will raise $602,798 annually; a 1.2-mill levy, originally approved in 1976, will raise $723,359 annually; and a 1.5-mill levy, originally approved in 1992, will raise $904,326 annually.
Laura Wolfe, township fiscal officer, said replacing the levies will bring them back up to current valuations because right now they’re each producing about half of their original value.
The levies are currently generating $1,125,386 million for the fire department. Wolfe said bringing those levies up to current valuations would generate an additional $1,105,097 for the department, giving them a total of $2,230,483 annually.
If all three are approved, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay a total of about $114 annually, said Mike Dockry, township administrator. He said those residents now pay about $58 per year, and the three replacements would cost an additional $56.
Fire Chief Andy Frost Jr. said the levies are not only important for the fire department, but also for the entire township.
“Getting these approved will more than likely bring us out of using general fund money,” he said. “That will free up [general fund] money for other township needs.”
Township Trustee David Ditzler said, if approved, the additional money will be used to maintain the department’s current staffing levels of 19 full-time and about 30 part- time firefighters.
Also during the meeting Joshua Watkins was sworn in to the Austintown Police Department as its newest patrol officer. Watkins served first on the department’s auxiliary unit. He will make $19.30 per hour.
In May, the department hired Mike McGlynn as a full-time patrol officer. He also served in the auxiliary unit. Gavalier said two officers remain in the reserve unit, and he’s looking to add three more in coming weeks.
“Our reserve unit turned into a good program,” Gavalier said. “It’s taught them everything they need to know about the township, so we can give them they keys and send them out on the job.”