BY KYM LIEBLER
The Cincinnati Enquirer
MASON -- Voters in Mason and Deerfield Township on Tuesday approved separate levies so each community can pay for its own fire department.
In Deerfield, a little more than 91 percent, or 1,318 of the 1,444 township residents who voted in the special election, approved a 3.95-mill fire levy that will raise $1.97 million a year. Vote totals were unofficial Tuesday night.
In Mason, 65 percent, or 842 of the 1,288 people who cast ballots, approved a 5-mill levy that will raise $2 million a year.
Both communities set out to create separate fire departments after it became apparent in April that the Mason-Deerfield Joint Fire District would disband Sept. 30 because of political differences between the governments.
"It's a tremendous relief," said Mason Mayor Betty Davis. "It finalizes everything. If it had not passed, it would have caused enormous disruptions."
Although the Deerfield levy is the same millage as the levy for the Mason-Deerfield Joint Fire District, homeowners will pay more because their property values have increased under a countywide reassessment, County Auditor Nick Nelson said.
Under the joint fire district levy, owners of a $125,000 home in Mason or Deerfield Township paid $129.27 a year for fire protection. The new Deerfield levy will require owners of a $125,000 home to pay $151.21 a year for fire protection.
Owners of a $125,000 home in Mason will pay $191.41 a year, Mr. Nelson said.
The levies will replace a 3.95-mill levy that funded the joint fire district.