Florence Township Levy Fate To Be Decided On May 18

Florence Township trustees tabled a decision regarding the fate of the ½ mil levy that is used for helping to fund the fire department.

Trustees decided on May 6 to hold off until the next township session scheduled on May 18. Clerk Garry Oberlin said the levy should continue, but a decision has to be made whether to renew or replace the levy.

Oberlin said there trustees would not opt for a larger levy to be placed on the November 6 ballot. After speaking with Williams County auditor, he found that replacing or renewing the levy would boast the same results.

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“The trustees questioned if it was put into renewal, how much would be generated compared to replacing it,” Oberlin said. “Values of homes in the area have gone down, it actually decreased from 2010 through 2013, which means less money for the township to work with.
“The money that is generated from a replacement levy or renewal is equal, so there is no real change regardless,” he added.

The ½ mil levy is renewed every three years, and offers the fire department about $19,500 in funds to help purchase turnout gear, oxygen tanks, boots and other items needed for service.

“The levy itself has been around for about 20 years,” Oberlin said. “Out main concern is that we don’t want to go out and ask the public for additional money, but instead, find a way to make what we receive to work well.”

Florence Township recently purchased a grass truck for its fire department earlier this year but will retain its current 1994 Ford grass truck as well. Oberlin said the vehicle would serve the township’s maintenance department.

“The truck has the capacity to pull the dump trailer, and work with road maintenance’s needs,” he said. “The department needed an in-between truck that can do the work that a regular truck can’t do.

“If we were to sell it, we wouldn’t have received enough money for the truck, so the township found a new use for it in the maintenance department,” he added.

Trustees, along with maintenance supervisor, Jay Klingler, will address which roads will receive pothole repair over the next few weeks.

County Road M is one road that will probably receive some work. Oberlin said the road level sits rather low due to last year’s drought and this spring’s heavier rainfall.

“The change in the weather caused the road to settle or become lower, and the water from the ditch washes over a region of driveway,” he said. “The resident would have to contact the county to see about having the water level lowered by draining the ditch while we would look into stabilizing the road itself.”

Other roads will be taken into consideration in the coming weeks. Trustee Scott Longanbach said Klingler will inform trustees of roads in need of immediate repair.
“The roads we work on first would be the ones with has the most traffic,” Longanbach said. There isn’t enough funds to do all the roads, so we have to make the best decision on which ones are in need of work first.”

Klingler said the township has 38 miles of road to maintain, and recently did chip and seal work on County Road K last year. He estimates work can cost about $12,000 just to have a contractor come out and do the work.

“We have to supply about 200 tons of stone, and that can cost around $2,000 a mile when its done,” Klingler said. “That’s why we have to look at which roads need it the most before taking on the project.”

Being frugal says Oberlin, is what has helped the township stretch every dollar. The township’s $250,000 budget can be spent quickly when covering items from the fire department to roads.

The maintenance department makes use of its equipment, including maintaining the 50-year-old Champion road grader currently in service.

“There is no need to replace things that really are working well for the township,” Oberlin said. “The tar kettle and the snowplows we use are all operational, and maintained well by the department, and by doing so, that helps prevent us from having to get new equipment.”

Florence Township will address the ½ mil levy issue on May 20 at 6 p.m.

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