By LENNY C. LEPOLA News Assistant Managing Editor
November 26, 2013
Sticker shock is everywhere. Costs seem to go up faster than the revenue stream – whether it’s the family budget or a political subdivision’s costs to maintain its infrastructure. And sticker shock might be the best way to describe Genoa Township’s 1.1-mil Road Levy that will appear on the ballot in 2014.
According to members of the Genoa Township Roads and Bridges Levy Committee, two factors combine to create an increase of the current 0.7-mil levy to the anticipated 1.1-mil levy – escalating paving and roadway maintenance costs, and the township’s 89 miles of roadway are new roads in developments built in the late 1990’s through 2009 when the economy imploded and residential growth ground to a halt.
“You’ve lived through one of the most inflationary periods of road maintenance costs,” said committee member Pat Blaney during last Wednesday’s Genoa Township Board of Trustees meeting. “You’ve managed to survive this tremendous inflationary period because of your new roads.”
The township’s road and bridge committee members then went on to recommend almost doubling the township’s annual road budget because of escalating costs and now aging roadways in the township.
“The township is currently spending $450,000 per year on its roads, but that’s inadequate going forward,” said committee member Steve Havens. “We’re recommending $800,000 per year for road maintenance, and going from 0.7-mil to 1.1-mil, adding $359,000 per year to the road and bridge fund.”
Havens said committee members determined that a dual levy (renew the 0.7-mil levy and add a 0.4-mil levy) would protect the state rollback on the 0.7-mils that saves property owner dollars; letting the o.7-mil levy expire and asking voters to approve a 1.1-mil road levy would eliminate the state rollback with the loss assumed by property owners – but committee members said it would be a simpler sell to voters.
Trustee Karl Gebhardt said the doubling of roadway dollars would take some explaining to voters.
“Going from $450,000 to $800,000, what’s the plan?” Gebhardt asked. “What do we tell the residents?”
Genoa Township Road Superintendent Bob Mathews said to tell residents that if the township does not put additional dollars into township roads that road conditions would deteriorate.
“Those developments were all built about the same time,” Mathews said. “Between 1999 and 2009, and a lot of them are up around 14 years old now. We’ve got roads that need attention that are 14, 15 and 16 years old.”
Trustee Rick Carfagna said the township is a victim of its own prosperity.
“Unfortunately, we’re in this position because of the Ohio General Assembly eliminating the rollback,” Carfagna added.
After the trustees approved a motion to seek a 5-year 1.1-mil road and bridge levy, it was noted that Genoa had a 1.1-mil road levy in 1999 that was lowered to the present 0.7-mil levy in 2005.
An updated list of Genoa Township meetings is available on the township’s website at < genoatwp.com >.
The Genoa Township Administrative Offices are located at the Genoa Township Hall, 5111 South Old 3C Highway, Westerville. They are regularly open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.