MOUNT VERNON — Morgan Township has placed a renewal levy on the May 4 ballot for maintenance and improvement of roads, streets and bridges. The renewal levy would generate $52,000 a year for three years, for a total of $156,000.
“We passed the last levy about three years ago and this election it’s up,” said Rod Booth, township trustee. “We passed it for road maintenance and road improvements. The vast majority of our township roads are gravel, so we decided to put a levy on three years ago to try and pave some of the roads. We have a program set up, so we are going to try and pave some every year as long as the levy’s on the ballot. If the levy is not on, there is no way we can pave.”
Last year the township paved a mile and a half of road with asphalt, and with a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission was able to pave another road. But more work is still needed on the roads, said Booth.
“We’re going to try and pave a road this year, but it won’t be asphalt — it will be heavy chip and seal. The $52,000 doesn’t cover enough to pave a mile of road, but the $52,000 gives us a chance,” Booth said.
Morgan Township covers 24.8 miles of road. With the severe winter this year, the weather has taken a toll on the roads, said Booth.
“The money doesn’t go toward salaries or equipment or anything else but for road maintenance and improvements,” said Booth. “We can’t buy a truck or a road grader out of that, it has to be strictly used on the roads.”
If the levy doesn’t pass, Booth said, the road maintenance will continue, but the paving will not be possible.
“There is no way with our budget that we would be able to pay [for paving] without having that extra money. This levy is very important,” said Booth, adding that not only does it help improve travel on township roads, it also helps in the cost of road upkeep.
“And it’s bound to help their property value with having a paved road. [Homeowners] can sell their grounds on a paved road better than a gravel road,” he said.
The levy is a renewal levy, with no increase or decrease in its previous amount.
“So it won’t raise their taxes more than what they already are,” said Booth. “If we don’t get the levy, then we will maintain what we have and that’s it.”
The levy three years ago is the first levy the township has had for roads.
“We tried to pass this levy two other times and it failed, and it passed this last time,” said Booth. “The township has never had this levy before this last time. Other townships have had levies on for years, but we’re getting more people here from out of town that want their roads paved, so it has to be paid for.”
Booth said the township does try to apply for grants to help do road improvement.
“We just spent $374,000 last year on a road through a grant, and we couldn’t have done that without that grant. With that grant we went in and built a road, paved it, ditched it and cleared the trees,” he said.
Knox County Auditor Jonette Curry explained that since the Morgan Township issue is a renewal levy, it will not increase residents’ tax.
If the property has a value of $100,000 the tax will be $47.25 per half on a 3-mill levy, or $94.50 for the year.
For help on how to calculate the tax levy visit the Knox County Auditor’s Web site www.knoxcountyauditor.org and look for tax estimator.