Voters support police, fire levies; cemetery levy rejected

May 8th, 2014    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: News

Angie Tucker, of Batavia Township, signs her name before receiving a ballot at the Batavia Township Community Center during the primary election May 6. From left are Tucker and poll workers Cindy Lewis and Patti Perkins.

By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

Voters supported several levies on the ballot in Clermont County May 6 including the Milford Fire and EMS levy, the Goshen Township Fire and EMS levy and the Bethel police levy, but did not approve the New Richmond cemetery levy.

Milford Fire and EMS levy

The Milford Fire and EMS levy passed with 556 voters in favor of the levy and 144 voters opposed to the levy.

Prior to the election, Milford Fire Chief John Cooper said the levy has supported the Milford fire and EMS departments for more than 30 years.

Cooper said the levy funds will maintain the current services at the department, which include staff, equipment, buildings, and other capital costs.

He the renewal and additional levy will generate approximately $1.8 million to support the fire and EMS department.

“The community has always supported us well,” Cooper said before the election. “We are proud of that and thankful for that.”

Goshen Fire and EMS levy

The Goshen Fire and EMS levy was approved by voters with 861 voters in favor of the levy and 615 voters opposed to the levy.

The 3.5 mill levy, according to the township, will be used to fund personnel costs as well as equipment, repairs, and maintenance.

The five-year levy will cost home owners approximately $12 per month for a home valued at $150,000, according to the township.

According to the township, the goal with the levy funds is to get the on-shift staffing back to 2003 levels by hiring back at least two full-time firefighters or paramedics and to replace two firetrucks with one truck by purchasing a combination truck.

Bethel police levy

The Bethel police levy passed by just one vote with 84 voters in favor of the levy and 83 voters opposed to the levy.

The 1 mill levy is a replacement police communications levy, according to fiscal officer Bill Gilpin.

Gilpin said the current levy has lost 63 percent of its value since it was passed 30 years ago and no longer covers the cost of the 911 services bill.

“Right now, the levy collects $12,877 a year, and the bill is over $31,000,” Gilpin said prior to the election. “The county has certified the new levy to collect $31,233, which won’t even cover the current bill, but will come a heck of a lot closer than the $12,877 does.”

Gilpin said before the election that if the new levy is approved by voters, village council will cancel the existing levy.

New Richmond cemetery levy

Only eight votes stood in the way of the New Richmond cemetery levy being approved with 98 voters in favor of the levy and 106 voters opposed to the levy.

The levy was on the ballot to generate funds for maintaining and repairing the cemeteries in the village, according to cemetery board member Bill Marsh.

Marsh said the levy would have raised approximately $250,000 over five years.

“I am disappointed,” Marsh said about the levy failure. “It was something I thought might happen.”

Prior to the election, Marsh said that the cemeteries, Greenmound, Old Watkins Hill, New Watkins Hill, and Pioneer, are in need of a substantial amount of work.

“They are in pretty poor shape,” Marsh said before the election. “The biggest, and most expensive, thing that needs to be done right now is to repave the drives. Greenmound is the largest and the drives are in very poor shape with big potholes.”

Marsh said now he and other volunteers will have to continue to try to find ways to fund maintenance and improvements for the cemetery.

“It basically means that there is a lot of stuff there that is not going to get done that needs to be done,” Marsh said.

Results are unofficial until certified by the Clermont County Board of Elections. For more information or to view the results, visit www.clermontelections.org.

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