Overview: Auglaize County election issues

First Posted: 10/17/2014

BUCKLAND — For Buckland Mayor Dan Lambert, he is hoping the third time is a charm.

The Village of Buckland is again attempting to pass a levy to replace funds that have disappeared due to cutbacks in local funds from the state.

“We lost, as you know from reading the papers and listening to the news, local revenue funds,” Lambert said. “Towns and townships of all sizes across the state of Ohio have been affected by the reduction of local government funds at the state level. This has greatly impacted the village of Buckland due to our relatively small operating budget and low tax base.”

Lambert said while all towns were impacted, smaller towns suffered more because they do not have other revenue sources. An income tax levied by village council helped take off some of the edge, but the village is still in need of funds.

“There are other options available if it doesn’t pass,” Lambert said, “but I think they aren’t too good.”

Through the end of 2015, Buckland will have lost approximately $135,000 in local government funds. The village has cut the budget by cutting fire, EMS and police expenses, and began charging the village’s recreation league for use of the park or shelter house.

A levy attempting to replace some of these funds failed both in the spring and fall 2013 elections, but Lambert said he is hoping the close-knit community is beginning to better see the needs. The village also recently had to tack on a sewer fee because of mandated upgrades. Many villagers revolted because they didn’t understand the need for the sewer fees.

“The sewer fees are completely separate from this and do not figure in with the general funds to run the village,” Lambert said. “It is hard for me to hear what people think because they aren’t going to talk about it when I am around. However, I think people are beginning to understand it more.”

Lambert said the four-mill, five-year levy will generate about $9,000 annually. He said that equated to about $1.50 per week per household or 75 cents per week for a retired household.

Also in the county, the Heritage Trails Park District is on the fall ballot with a 0.6 mill levy for seven years. If passed the funds collected will be used for park acquisition, development, maintenance, programming, and for grants to local parks.

The levy failed by a narrow vote in the spring, but the board decided to try the issue again.

The new parks will be nature areas with habitat for wildlife, according to Allison Brady of the park district.

“They will provide people young and old with opportunities to relax, play, and learn in a natural setting” Brady said. “The number of parks will be determined by willing land sellers/donors and funding. Right now all the parks in the Heritage Trails system are located in one area north of St. Marys. New parks will be located in other regions of Auglaize County.”

Anticipated cost of the levy to a homeowner of property valued at $100,000 would be $1.75 per month; or $21 per year if passed, according to the Auglaize County Auditor.

Duchouquet Township is also attempting four a two-mill, five-year replacement levy for ambulance and emergency services.

Probate Court Judge Mark Spees, county commissioner Doug Spencer, and auditor Janet Schuler all are running unopposed to retain their offices. School districts in Indian Lake, Jackson Center and Marion Local also have levies that overlap to a few voters in the county.

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