Tiltonsville looks to levy for services

TILTONSVILLE — A fire and emergency services levy could be in the works for the Tiltonsville Volunteer Fire Department to provide better service to residents.

At a Tiltonsville Council meeting Tuesday evening, village solicitor Edward Littlejohn Jr. said a question was asked to him about whether or not the fire department could have a fire and emergency services levy put in place. Littlejohn said that only a taxing authority can put on a levy which includes municipal corporations or a joint fire district.

“The Tiltonsville Volunteer Fire Department is not a taxing authority, so they cannot put a levy on,” Littlejohn said. “What we can do is the village of Tiltonsville can put on a fire and ambulance services levy and then they can contract with a fire and EMS protection agency to provide those services. The revised code is clear on who can put on a levy and what the levies can be for.”

Village Council would be the deciding factor on whether or not a levy would even be proposed to residents. Littlejohn and Mayor Ty Lollini also said that it would be the council’s responsibility on how the money would be distributed to the fire department if a levy were to be put in place.

“So, we are going to get a pot of money and they are going to be coming to us and saying how much money they need for certain things,” Lollini told council members. “The council would have to then vote to allow that to happen. It would be like any other entity we give money to.

“I want the fire department to understand that we couldn’t just give them money without oversight of the council,” Lollini said. “They have to show us something that would prove that they need it and are paying for it with the money that is distributed whether they need a new truck or whatever equipment it may be. It would be just like any other department asking for equipment they need, but it would come out of this levy. If the money is there and council votes on it, then they can get it.”

Littlejon said the council would also need to decide if the levy would be used for things such as wages for those working there or equipment that is needed for the department.

“It is the taxpayers’ money and council gets to decide what it goes toward,” Lollini said. “If we don’t want to use it for wages, then so be it. From my understanding, they do need a new squad. It is something to consider.”

In other council business, resident Dawn Liston proposed that there should be something in the village to commemorate those who had worked at the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel mill currently being demolished.

“There’s a big pile of bricks laying there. I thought about wanting to build a monument for those men and women who worked there with the bricks that come from the mill,” Liston said. “I don’t know how to do it because once they are gone, there’s nothing left. We could possibly build it at the park.”

Lollini said that he considers the proposal to be a great idea, and it should be in conjunction Yorkville. He told Liston that he would find look for more information.

The mill operated for more than a century and helped supply the nation with metal for various needs. The operation has been closed for a number of years and has stood dormant between Yorkville and Tiltonsville. The building was purchased by CJ Betters Enterprises, a management and leasing services company based in Aliquippa, Pa., that had plans to demolish the structure in 2017. The company said it wanted to to free up space, but also wanted to create a safer area, since the building was older and not up to safety codes.