East Geauga Replacement Fire Levy Passes
The East Geauga Fire District five-year, 2.8-mill replacement levy was approved by voters 471 to 324 Tuesday, according to final unofficial results of the Geauga County Board of Elections.
Annual yield of the levy, first passed in 1994 , will increase from $281,886 to $429,750 when the new amount is collected starting in 2015, according to he elections board.
It will essentially double the cost to Middlefield Village homeowners. Taxes on a $100,000 home will increase from $49.45 to $98 per year to cover a contract the village has with the EGFD.
But its effect on the fire department, which his staffed 24/7 with firefighting personnel only, will just keep it above water.
Department Lt. Ben Reed said the levy was renewed three times over the years but, due to the state cutting out the village’s ability to charge certain businesses a TVLR tax, it was necessary to bring the levy into the 21st century.
“Basically, it doesn’t do much, money-wise, for us,” Reed said.
But when the village’s ability to charge the TVLR taxes was lost, the department’s budget threatened to go south, too.
“Since 1994, the township and (village) have been growing and growing,” he said, which stretched the district’s ability to provide fire coverage.
Even the kinds of fire and accident calls the firefighters attend are different than they were almost 20 years ago, he said.
The district does not provide emergency medical service in the form of ambulances and paramedics. The village and township contract with Community Care Ambulance for that service.
Putting a replacement levy on the ballot made some people nervous because voters are used to renewing, not agreeing to pay more taxes, , Reed said.
Four precincts in which 3,330 voters are registered voted on the levy Tuesday.
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