Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Police, fire levies on ballot

Delhi's general fund strained

By Kevin Aldridge
Enquirer staff writer

DELHI TOWNSHIP - Voters in this township of 30,000 will decide two levies Nov. 2 that could raise property taxes by $245 a year on a $100,000 house.

Township trustees voted this month to place a 4.55-mill fire services levy and a 3.77-mill police levy on the ballot. The fire levy would generate more than $2 million a year and cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $134 more a year. The police levy would generate $1.73 million a year and cost an additional $111 a year.

The two levies would be the first for the township in 11 years. Voters passed two 1.9-mill levies in 1993. The new levies would be in addition to the existing ones.

Township Administrator Joe Morency has said the police and fire departments need more money. The township has been subsidizing both budgets since 1997 from the general fund at a cost of more than $8 million, he said.

Morency said the township can no longer sustain the added cost because of shrinking revenues and increased expenses. A total of $3.6 million is needed to balance the police and fire department budgets next year.

"If someone has a better way for us to maintain the exceptional police and fire services that we have without doing a tax increase, I will be the first one to vote for it," Trustee Mike Davis said. "The last thing I want to do is raise taxes."

Davis said some residents oppose the levy because they don't see the need for more money. Davis said trustees are planning forums to educate voters about the township's finances. Trustees have already held three sessions - all of which were poorly attended.

"There are a few people who will try to misrepresent the numbers and use scare tactics on the voters," Davis said. "... I will adhere to whatever the voters decide."

Township officials predict cuts in personnel and reduced services for police and fire if the levies fail. The police department employs 32 officers and the fire department employs 23 full-time and 55 part-time firefighters.


E-mail kaldridge@enquirer.com

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