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Twinsburg Township voters face fall service levy

2.76-mill levy would generate $384,000 for service department

by Andrew Schunk | Editor Published: October 12, 2016 12:00 AM

Editor's Note: In the coming weeks, the Twinsburg Bulletin will review the local issues set for the Nov. 8 ballot for voters in the city of Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. There are no candidates on the ballot in the city or township, and there are no issues or candidates on the ballot in the village of Reminderville.

Twinsburg Township -- A new levy is on the fall ballot for township voters, one that would generate $384,117 per year for the service department and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $96.60 per year.

Trustees on Oct. 3 advanced the 2.76-mill continuing levy to the Nov. 8 ballot as Issue 38. If passed, the levy would represent the first outside millage to support the department.

According to Trustees, the levy is intended to reduce the subsidy from the general fund to the service department from about $600,000 per year to about $200,000 per year.

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

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"The service department does a fantastic job," said Trustee Jamey DeFabio. "This will enable us to continue providing the services at the level we are used to for our residents."

"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."

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

"The middle option seemed to be the most reasonable," DeFabio said. "It's not everything we needed, but it would be enough to keep us from draining the general fund ... which in turn would allow us to complete other projects in the township."

Several trends have contributed to cost overruns for the four full-time and one part-time member service department, according to Kagler.

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The tangible personal property tax phase-out is costing 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.

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

The township is also purchasing more equipment to handle its own road repairs, snow plowing and salting in-house, a short-term expense that is expected to save money in the long-run by eliminating 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 has said.

Finally, there is "old faithful," the ever-increasing costs for salt and ice removal.

"This is a good step, tightening up our fiscal responsibility in the township," Trustee Jim Balogh said when the township approved the levy for the ballot in August.

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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