Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Mt. Healthy OKs levy

Money will allow city to hire more emergency, fire workers

By Perry Schaible
Enquirer contributor

MOUNT HEALTHY - Voters in this Hamilton County community approved a five-year, 5-mill safety levy Tuesday to support the fire department and emergency medical services.

According to final, unofficial results, 463 voters (54 percent) supported the levy and 393 (46 percent) were against it.

City officials said they wouldn't comment on results until today.

Voters backed a 2-mill replacement levy and 3-mill increase that will cost the owner of a $100,000 house an additional $101 per year.

"The majority of the funds will pay for part-time, around-the-clock personnel," Safety Service Director Bill Kocher said before the vote. Funds will also be used to replace an ambulance.

Kocher couldn't say how many part-time positions would be added in the city of 7,149 residents, but said it would reduce the need for volunteer staffing.

"We're going to add enough to provide coverage for the four weekend and the five night shifts," he said. Those shifts are now staffed by volunteers.

Mount Healthy resident Louis J. Heinbuch hit the polls Tuesday planning to vote "no."

"I don't agree with it because I think they're asking for too much money," he said.

City Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. today to discuss the levy results.

Monroe rejects increase

Voters in Monroe on Tuesday narrowly defeated an income tax increase from 1 percent to 1.5 percent that would have paid for capital improvements and reduced the fast-growing city's debt.

According to final, unofficial returns Tuesday night, 573 (52 percent) were opposed to increasing the income tax, and 527 (48 percent) voted for it.

City officials cut capital improvement projects two years ago when it faced financial problems. In 2003, the budget and staff were reduced by 10 percent.

Finance Director Jay Stewart said before the vote that if the increase request failed, voters would likely see the issue on another ballot.

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