Few attend hearing for Fayette levy requests 2012.10.24

Written by David Green.

The audience was small for Fayette's public information meeting regarding two levy requests in the Nov. 6 general election, but that doesn't mean the discussion was also light. Several questions followed a presentation by village administrator Steve Blue.

Replacing the levy updates the value to current property assessments rather than simply renewing the existing value. Blue first addressed the request for replacement of the existing levy for parks and recreation. The park levy was last replaced in 1998, so it won't bring as stark a change as the general operating levy that hasn't been replaced since passage in 1968.

The park levy would bring an additional $5,600 to help with general maintenance needs including resurfacing the basketball courts, removal of dead and dying trees and stumps, ball diamond upkeep, repair of the broken scoreboard and maintenance of playground equipment.

Replacement of the 2.9-mill general operating levy would add about $21,000 to village coffers. Although the money cannot be targeted for a specific purpose, village council members know exactly how they want to use the money: to repay a 10-year loan for a street paving project. A grant covers nearly half of the $401,000 project. The village's loan costs nearly match the additional funds that replacement would bring in.

Nearly all village streets will be resurfaced either through the upcoming sewer project or through the project listed above.

Blue notes that the replacement request does not affect any property tax other than that paid to the village.

The owner of a home valued at $75,000 would pay an additional $54 a year, or about a dollar a week.

"That's something we feel is affordable to most everybody," Blue said.

For a $50,000 home, the increase would lead to an additional $36 a year. Residents who are 65 years or older, or are disabled, can apply for a homestead exemption. This subtracts $25,000 from the value of a home for taxation purposes. The exemption also applies to agricultural land.

To compute a tax rate, visit the county auditor's website at fultoncountyoh.com or call the auditor's office at 419/337-9200.

SCHEDULE—Eugene Rosinski asked when the road repair would begin. Blue said there are three projects scheduled next year: the sewer separation project; the street resurfacing; and a road project near the TRW plant. Construction should be complete by late summer or early fall.

STREETS—Rosinski also wondered about the width of streets. Some streets are narrower in certain areas, Blue said, and the aim is to create a uniform width. Curbing is not included in the project. Some areas that have streets in very good condition will not be included in the resurfacing. State highway is not included, although ODOT has scheduled repaving on U.S. 20 in 2014.

The TRW project will address the road on the north side of the plant where pavement is crumbling.

TRUCK ROUTE—Steve Snider asked about the idea to make Industrial Parkway a truck route to U.S. 127. Blue said he is not aware of any plans for that. The township owns half of the road where it passes through the village, he said, and township officials would be asked to cooperate in the cost of any improvements made in town.

Police chief Jason Simon pointed out that the creation of a truck route would probably attract a lot of car traffic, as well, something that business owners would not favor. Over the course of a day, he said, a truck passes through Fayette an average of every 90 seconds, with very few traffic incidents.

Street repair needs are one of the most frequent complaints lodged at the village office, Blue said.

"This is the time to jump on it and take advantage of that," he said about the grant/loan program.

PARKS—Rosinski wondered what would happen if the park replacement fails. Blue said there's sufficient money for basic operations, but larger projects will take longer to tackle.

Blue was asked if non-residents pay a fee to use the parks. Blue stated that fees are charged for softball tournaments and for the school to use the facilities.

Audience member Burt Blue noted that many township residents use the parks at no cost. When Blue was a park board member several years ago, the township board was approached about contributing funds to the operations of parks, but township trustees were not interested.

Administrator Blue said the some communities have joint park districts in cooperation with townships.

Mayor Ruth Marlatt suggested that costs should be examined and shown to township residents. In that way, she said, they could see how little financial support would cost and how much it would benefit the park program which is used by everyone.

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