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Election 2017: Fire station denied again and other ballot issues

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WESTFIELD TWP. — Township officials are headed back to the drawing board after voters denied a bond issue to construct a new safety service building/fire station for the second time this year.

The $3.3 million bond issue to build a 12,000-square-foot facility at the corner of U.S. Route 224 and North Leroy Road was turned down 665 votes to 494 votes Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.

“I was disappointed,” Fire Chief Richard Fletcher said Wednesday. “But, then again, it’s a communication thing. I believe that once we get the word out about what we need and also find out what the community wants, that’s a big thing. It’s not just something for us, its something to serve the community.”

The project was scaled down by 2,000 square feet, and construction was changed from a masonry design to pre-engineered steel, after voters turned down the original $5 million bond issue May 2.

The revised proposal included:

  • eight bays and one wash bay;
  • a multipurpose day room/sleeping area that includes a kitchenette;
  • a training room;
  • office space with storage;
  • a men’s and women’s bathroom with lockers and showers;
  • a public meeting room and safe room;
  • equipment room.

If approved, it would have cost homeowners $66.50 annually, or $5.54 per month, per $100,000 of property valuation, according to auditor’s office data. The bonds would be funded with a 1.9 mill levy over 20 years.

Fletcher said trustees haven’t decided if the request will be placed on the May 1 primary ballot.

“We are going to regroup and get together to see what our options are,” he said. “Obviously our needs are still there but then again the residents have needs too. We have to somehow meet in the middle and get a plan and go from there.

Fletcher said if officials decide to go back to voters, he believes officials need to execute more community outreach efforts.

“We can do that,” he said. “My biggest thing is I want to have a healthier and safer environment for the volunteers when they come in and respond to emergencies.”

Other issues

  • In Hinckley Township, voters approved a 1-mill additional levy for fire/EMS service — 1,528-1,051, according to unofficial results. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $35 per year and generate $322,800 annually. Fire Chief Mel Morgan has said funds are needed to increase staffing at the fire station and to replace aging equipment.
  • Homer Township voters approved a 1.5-mill, five-year renewal levy for current expenses — 225-109. It will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $39.93 per year and generate $38,100 annually.
  • On the other hand, a 3-mill, five-year additional levy for roads and bridges failed 124-204.
  • Levy revenue would have been used to improve the township’s infrastructure and for chip-sealing roads.
  • Voters in Lafayette Township approved a 2.3-mill, five-year renewal levy 722-417 that pays for police coverage by the Medina County Sheriff’s Office. The request will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $67 per year, down from the current $69.92, and generate $283,900 a year.
  • Voters approved 605-238 a 1-mill renewal levy for roads and bridges in Litchfield Township. The five-year levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $22.30 per year and generate $55,700 annually.
  • Voters also approved a 3.2-mill renewal levy for fire and EMS that will generate $235,000 annually. The issue passed 607-234. The five-year levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $94.61 per year and generate a year, the same as it does now.
  • Lodi voters approved a 5-mill renewal levy for current expenses 356-151. The five-year levy will continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $145.62 per year and generate $188,000 a year.
  • In Medina Township, voters approved a 1.4-mill safety services levy that will generate an estimated $496,000 a year. Funds from the request — approved 1,662-1,159 — will be disbursed between the police and fire departments. Trustees have said a 2-mill fire levy on the township’s books, approved in 2003 as a continuous tax, will be rolled back to zero.
  • Spencer’s additional 4-mill levy request for current expenses failed 65-108. The five-year levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $140 per year and generate $38,900 annually. Fiscal Officer Sheri Ramey has said if the levy didn’t pass, some cuts will have to be made.
  • Seville Village and Guilford Township voters approved a 1.25-mill renewal levy for fire service 1,062-291. The five-year levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $36.86 per year and will generate $165,300 annually.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.

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