By Mary Smith
Weathersfield Township trustees are asking voters Nov. 6 for a five-year, 1.75-mill equipment levy to generate $224,000 a year.
Trustees never have asked for an equipment levy, chairman Steven Gerberry said.
The levy will provide equipment at a rate of 30 percent of the levy each for the police, fire and road departments, or roughly $67,000 each a year; and 10 percent for the cemetery, or $22,000 a year.
The township is projected to lose more than $408,000 in state funding and local taxes between 2010 and 2013, making it necessary for trustees to go to voters for help with the township’s equipment needs, Gerberry said.
He said trustees are not committing to any particular purchases, but there are many needs in all departments:
In the road department, there are four dump trucks equipped with plows that include two from 1999 and 1996.
Two others are from 2000 and 2002. The older equipment breaks down and is more expensive to fix because parts are old. Replacing a dump truck would cost an estimated $100,000.
The fire department has a fire engine that is 22 years old. Fire engines should be replaced every 20 years. The township has been saving to purchase a new one, and has $400,000 saved. The estimated cost is $600,000. The department also needs turn-out gear for each firefighter, including helmets, gloves, jackets, pants and boots. These items need replacing every 10 years, but the township is trying to replace five every year. If a new firefighter should come on board, new equipment has to be purchased for him, so there are actually six or seven sets of gear purchased every year, at a cost of $2,000 each.
The police department’s oldest car is a 2003 model with more than 159,000 miles. Trustees are trying to replace one cruiser a year, and recently purchased two new 2013 Ford Police Interceptors, which had to be financed at $30,000 each.
Police also need new radar equipment because the current equipment is 20 years old.
The cemetery needs some mowers and general equipment because equipment is getting older, and the cemetery was enlarged, requiring more equipment.
Bobovnyk said the estimated loss of $408,000 is due to state funding cuts in personal tangible property tax, public utilities reimbursement, the Trumbull County auditor’s estimates of tax revenue, state Local Government Fund cuts and the elimination of estate tax starting Jan. 1, 2013.
Bobovnyk said the township has lost $68,000 over a three-year period of 2010 to 2013 in actual payments and projections in Local Government Funds. In 2010, Weathersfield received $148,907, anticipated in 2012 is $105,793, and expected in 2013 is $80,868.
Bobovnyk said earlier this year that the township had lost 18 percent of its income from state reimbursement of personal tangible property tax and public utilities tax in 2011.
Gerberry said the police department is projected to lose $178,113; the fire department, $24,486; and the road and bridge department, $24,867, which would have come from personal tangible property tax and public utilities reimbursement in 2010 to 2013.
Combining losses in the personal tangible property tax and public utilities tax reimbursement, Local Government funds, property taxes and estate tax, from 2010 to 2013 the police, fire and road departments will lose at least $229,805, Bobovnyk said.
All of the funds, excluding the county auditor estimates, were at $455,600 a year in 2010 and are expected to drop to $225,795 in 2013.
By 2018, the township will lose reimbursement of personal tangible property tax and public utilities tax from the state, Bobovnyk said. Payments from the state of these revenues have been reduced each year.
The estate tax, which brought in a three-year average of $56,445 in 2010, 2011 and 2012, will be cut. Bobovnyk said there was only one year, several years ago, when estate tax brought in $80,000, which was put toward savings and purchased a state-mandated salt building. “There were times when that money came in handy,” he said.