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Twinsburg Township voters face 2.76-mill road and bridge levy this fall

If passed, new tax would generate $384,117 per year for service department

by Andrew Schunk | Editor Published: August 11, 2016 11:01 AM

Twinsburg Township -- Voters will face a road and bridge levy on the Nov. 8 ballot, a new tax for township homeowners and the first outside millage intended to support the township service department.

Trustees on Aug. 9 unanimously approved a 2.76-mill continuing levy for the Nov. 8 ballot.

If passed, the levy would generate $384,117 per year; cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $96.60 per year; and reduce the subsidy from the general fund to the service department from about $600,000 per year to about $200,000 per year.

The service department, with a budget of about $700,000 per year, is currently supported by an inside, 0.8-mill levy that generates about $109,000 per year, according to township manager Rob Kagler.

"The levy will allow the township to do better long-term planning, 5- to 10-year planning of specific projects that need to be completed," said Trustee Tom Schmidt. "We have a very accomplished service department. If we can generate a little more revenue, we can take on more projects such as trails, paths and recreation areas on township-owned property."

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Trustees also considered two other road and bridge levy options, a 1.32-mill continuing levy and a 4.21-mill continuing levy, intended to reduce the service department subsidy to $400,000 per year or eliminate it completely, respectively.

"I support this middle levy option because I think people will see physical improvements in the township over the next decade and I believe the township will be good a steward of this money," Schmidt said.

Several trends have contributed to cost overruns for the four full-time and one part-time member service department, which had a budget of about $640,000 in 2015 and is estimated at about $706,000 this year, according to Kagler.

The tangible personal property tax phase-out will cost the township about $30,000 a year (dwindling to zero over the next several years).

In addition, costs are increasing for the annual road program ($175,000 in 2016), part of the service department budget and responsible for crack sealing and resurfacing on township roads.

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"This is pricey, and each year it's going up," Kagler said.

The township is also purchasing more equipment to handle road repairs, snow plowing and salting in-house, saving the township money through outsourced contracts.

Personnel cost for the service department is relatively fixed, Kagler said, at around $289,000 for salaries and benefits in 2016. No new hires have been made over the last several years.

"Compared to other communities of the same size, we're pretty lean and mean," Kagler said.

Finally, there is "old faithful," Kagler said, referring to increasing costs for salt and ice removal.

"This is a good step, tightening up our fiscal responsibility in the township," Trustee Jim Balogh said.

With an Aug. 10 deadline for ballot issues, township residents will not see a police operating levy this fall, a discussion that has also been had by Township Trustees.

Police service, provided by the Summit County Sheriff's Office through a $920,000, 7.25-deputy contract, will require a $175,000 subsidy from the general fund in 2016, according to 2016 appropriations.

There are no other issues or races on the Nov. 8 ballot for Twinsburg Township.

Email: aschunk@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9424

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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