Two 1-mill levies for Austintown will be up for passage Nov. 8
By Amanda Tonoli
Township trustees are asking voters to approve two new 1-mill levies for road and police services on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Both levies will generate the same amount of $614,966 annually, and owners of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $35 per levy per year.
While the road levy will be a five-year levy, the police levy will be continuous.
Austintown has four continuous police levies generating $4.3 million annually and two five-year road levies generating $1.1 million each year.
Trustee Chairman Ken Carano said the point of the new levies stems simply from just a financial need.
“All I can ask for is for people to understand to service them, we have to raise extra funds simply because we have lost so much of the funding from state and federal government,” he said.
Trustee Jim Davis said the $1.2 million loss is causing trustees and administrators to balance their smaller budget “on the backs of the taxpayers.”
Township Administrator Mike Dockry explained the loss came in three parts to all townships and cities in Ohio: a local government fund cut, the accelerated phase-out of the Tangible Personal Property tax in 2009 and the elimination of the estate tax in 2013.
“As a result, there is less money not only to support the road department but also to support the police department,” he said. “Passage of both levies will allow the township to continue to serve our residents with the services they have come to expect from the road and police departments.”
Trustee Rick Stauffer agreed.
“I don’t think anyone hates levies more than we do, but we see them as absolutely something we need to do in order to do the basics of what we do, like paving roads and keeping people safe,” he said. “We strive to do the best we can for the sake of our township, but many of our line items need more support.”
Davis said the support is what it all comes down to.
“We’ve been very fortunate with our police department in success with prostitution cases, specialized programs combatting drug and heroin problems. And these specialized programs are not going to be able to continue without this funding and voter support,” he said. “We feel it is imperative to be able to continue to fund these programs so we can fight crime in the community and provide the services we provide now.”