Howland seeks 1st general fund levy

HOWLAND – With less money coming from the state, township trustees at a special meeting Tuesday approved placing a 1.5-mill, five-year general fund levy request on the Nov. 3 general election ballot to cover current expenses and maintain services.

This marks the first time a general fund levy for Howland has ever been on the ballot.

Trustee Chairman Rick Clark said the levy would generate $593,139 annually to offset the shortfall and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $52.50 per year.

”Our funding stream from the state has been cut in the past five years. We have never had a general fund levy. We have been good stewards of the taxpayers’ money, but to go forward and to continue providing the services the taxpayers expect, we will not be able to do without a levy,” Clark said.

He said the state has cut taxes at the state level and it is now up to the local taxpayers to decide what they want to fund.

The proceeds from the levy will be used for road paving, traffic lights, the local post office branch, senior citizen center, zoning department, matching funds for grants, and quality-of-life items such summer recreation programs and July 4th events.

”All of this comes from the general fund,” Clark said.

Officials said there have been losses in reimbursement for tangible personal property tax, inheritance tax monies and local government funds to communities.

”There will be no additional spending. The monies will be used to maintain what we have and are offering the residents,” Clark said.

Trustee Matt Vansuch said there is an expected 8.5 percent loss of funds in the road department.

”This levy will address the loss of funding,” he said.

Trustee Dr. James Lapolla said with the loss of taxes from the state, the levy would help the township maintain the quality of services and programs, infrastructure and roads that the residents are accustomed to.

Township Administrator Darlene St. George said the general fund helps to purchase salt for the roads in the winter, maintaining street lights, and offering post office and senior center to residents.

”We live within our means. This money will help us maintain what we have for our residents,” she said.

St. George said she read recently where a community did not have enough funds and had to turn off all their street lights.