Trustees approve rates for proposed road levy

LaCROFT – The costs of a proposed road levy for Liverpool Township residents were announced at Monday’s trustees meeting.

Board members voted to accept a certificate of estimated property tax revenue from the county auditor’s office, which lists the projected costs to residents for the levy. Approval of the certificate is a step in the process of having the levy ready for the ballot this coming November.

For those who own a home worth $40,000, the cost will be an additional $35.44 annually in township taxes. Residents with a $150,000 home will pay an additional $132. Trustee Steve Betteridge emphasized that these figures break to $.09 per day for owners of $40,000 home and $.36 per day for a $150,000 home.

The original 2-mill replacement levy, plus the additional 2 mills added on, would give the combined 4-mill levy an estimated annual income of $197,000 for the township road fund.

Betteridge reiterated that this would be the first such levy to come before township voters since 1992. The income from that 22-year-old levy presently stands at $49,000 per year, which trustees say is inadequate for the rising costs of road maintenance.

Board President Keith Burke agreed, saying that present road department income isn’t enough to keep pace with increased prices for equipment, fuel, slag and other supplies. “We kind of stretched this out a little bit,” he said. “It should have been done years ago.”

Betteridge believes that passage of the levy would hold the township over for a long time to come. “We should be set for another 22 years,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll never have to think about borrowing money. We’ll have enough money coming in to buy what we need.”

He added that due to a recent change in state law, townships are no longer permitted to take out loans from banks. They may only receive funds by way of levies or bond issues approved by voters, or by applying for grants from state or federal agencies.

Tim Ginter, Republican candidate for state representative, attended the meeting and spoke briefly during the public comment portion. He said he is in the middle of a township listening tour throughout the district and was interested in the fiscal challenges facing townships, especially in the wake of what he called “dramatic” cuts to local government funding (LGF) over recent years.

The extent of those cuts was illustrated when Betteridge stated that Liverpool Township’s LGF share had decreased from $92,000 to $32,000. “Hence the need for your levy on the November ballot,” Ginter replied.

Ginter added that he was glad to hear that the state’s projected $8 billion budget deficit had been eliminated, leaving the rainy day fund with a balance of nearly $1.5 billion. He said some of that money could be shared with townships to relive the budgetary crunch. “I think it would be good if we could begin to return a little bit of that LGF to the townships,” he said.

In other business:

* Trustees voted to pay the county engineer’s office for the township’s participation in this year’s chip and seal program. The bill for the emulsion used came to $35,645, which will be paid with two purchase orders. The first is for $6,500 from vehicle license tax revenues, with the remaining$29,145 paid from the operating supplies fund.

* With the township’s mower currently in need of repairs, trustees voted to hire Grace Exterminating of Youngstown to mow township property, as part of the company’s commercial weed and brush control services, at a rate of $85 per hour.