A property tax increase to fund fire and EMS service from the City of Worthington will be on the ballot in November. Service in the Sharon Township Fire District, which is comprised of the Village of Riverlea and the unincorporated portions of Sharon Township, is currently funded by a levy of approximately $145,000, an amount which has remained unchanged since 1994. The City reports that the Township Fire District now accounts for about 12% of their served population and 15% of their service runs, but only about 2% of their revenue.
Representatives from the City, the Township, and the Village have reached an agreement to bring revenues more closely in line with the level of service provided while spacing out the tax increases and creating some clarity with regard to the future:
(1) A new $500,000 property tax levy will be placed on the ballot in November 2023, which if approved would be collected in addition to the existing $145,000 levy. This is a revaluation year so the exact millage is to be determined, but it should be on the order of 4 mils, or roughly $125 per $100,000 of assessed market value. The exact figures will be available later this year.
(2) A second levy will be placed on the ballot in 2026, 2027, or 2028, in the amount of $370,000, $450,000, or $550,000 depending on the year. Sharon Township Trustees will decide at a later date which year to put the levy forward.
(3) Voters will have two consecutive chances to pass the first levy (November 2023 and March 2024), and until the end of 2028 to pass the second levy, before the Township is considered to be in breach of contract with the Fire Department.
(4) The City will not ask for any further revenue increases from the Township for at least five years after certification of the second levy.
We will hold one or two public forums in the Village to discuss this issue, probably in the late summer and fall, so stay tuned for updates.