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Wells Township issues important

Voters in Wells Township are facing a couple of tough choices in the Nov. 5 election.

They are being asked to approve two 3-mill levies, one for the police department and one for the road department. Money generated by the issues will help to offset some of the $1 million loss in revenue the township has experienced since Buckeye Power was granted a tax devaluation at the Cardinal Plant.

The loss of that money has affected township residents in several ways. Work on roads has been reduced to just minimum maintenance, such as patching potholes, officials have said. Long-term projects, such as repaving streets, are not possible, and bridges and roads in the township are crumbling. At risk is Weldon Road, which has experienced a slip that if worsens, could cut off access to about a dozen homes.

Officials said that the recent increase in Ohio’s gasoline tax has brought an additional $50,000 into township coffers, but that does little to offset the entire amount that has been lost.

Meanwhile, the township police department, which had five full-time officers and six part-time officers and offered around-the-clock service before the cut, now has just three full-time officers, and the department, which had been answering 6,000 calls a year, now handles just 3,000. That can create a real safety issue, officials explained, because when a township officer is not available, the situation has to be answered by a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy, who might be miles away when a call is received.

Each of the issues, if passed, would generate $362,000 a year, which means the owner of a home valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $105 a year for each levy. And, the reality is that money will only bring the township back to the level it was at two years ago — and tax revenue will continue to decline as the devaluation process continues.

When you add it all up, it is, to be sure, a lot of money, and those totals likely led voters to reject identical issues in May — the police issue by 15 votes and the road issue by 24 votes.

We understand all those concerns, but the reality is the failure to pass the levies will lead only to further declines in the township. Money generated by the passage of each will allow township residents to continue to receive services they have come to expect. That’s why voters in Wells Township need to say yes to both issues when they cast their ballots in the Nov. 5 election.

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