Toronto EMS heads slate of levies as early voting begins in area

YORKVILLE — Early voting is under way for the May 2 election in Ohio with three local levies on the ballot.

In Toronto, voters will see a 1.5-mill renewal levy with an additional 0.5 mill on the ballot for the TEMS Joint Ambulance District.

TEMS has been operating on money from a levy originally passed in 2002 but costs have risen since then.

TEMS Chief Clark Crago, director of operations, said the cost of supplies along with the cost of maintaining and replacing vehicles and equipment has gone up over time, adding “the need for additional revenue is there.”

Crago said the cost to provide ambulance service to residents of Toronto, Empire, Stratton and Knox Township 24 hours a day, seven days a week each day of the year with full-time paid and qualified staff on duty at all hours has gone up, as have insurance costs for vehicles and employees, and liability also has increased.

The village of Yorkville placed a 1-mill levy on the May 2 ballot. Officials have held several public meetings to raise awareness for the vote.

If approved, the money generated by the levy will go toward repaying a loan for a 2007 catch basin improvement project and wastewater treatment plant upgrade. The project cost the village $541,409, and the community still is making payments to repay the cost, plus 4 percent interest. The installments will continue through 2028.

A levy passed in 2007 is only generating $27,000 annually. The proposed new 1-mill levy would generate an additional $18,000 per year, according to estimates. A property with a market value of $60,000 would see a property tax increase of $21 per year if the levy passes.

Yorkville Councilwoman Dana Brown said that if the loan is paid off by 2028, residents will no longer need to pay those taxes.

The Buckeye Local School District is putting a levy before voters on the May 2 ballot, hoping to generate $1.9 million annually. The 4.8-mill, 10-year levy was approved for the ballot by the school board in January. One of the main goals for the levy is to help maintain and repair the buildings in the district, many of which are old and in need of repairs and upgrades, according to officials. The newest building in the district is Buckeye Local High School, which is 27 years old. According to information provided by the district, the levy would cost property owners $84 annually for a home valued at $50,000, $117 per year for a $70,000 residence and $168 per year for a home valued at $100,000.

Those numbers would be cut in half for owners eligible for the Homestead exemption.

Early voting for the May 2 election began on April 4 and will continue through May 1. Early voting hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at local boards of elections headquarters, with additional times on Saturday, Sunday and May 1.

For information on the issues and voting, call the Jefferson County Board of Elections at (740) 283-8522 or visit electionsonthe.net/oh/jefferson/.

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