FAIRFIELD TOWNSHIP - After discussions to hold the spending line on the three fire protection contracts it has, trustees approved placing a five-year, 1.5-mill replacement levy on the Nov. 6 ballot with a 2-1 vote on Thursday.
The township has a three-year deal with Leetonia while Columbiana and New Waterford have one-year contracts.
If voters approve the levy it will bring in $122,000 a year in newly appraised values compared to the current $60,000 a year issue.
Trustee Barry Miner was the "no" vote.
Trustee Chairman Bob Hum and Miner insisted the township take closer look at the contracts.
The township pays Columbiana $46,376, Leetonia $30,000 and New Waterford $29,800 annually and has a 1.5-mill levy (old appraised values) that generates $60,000 a year for that.
Hum said that brought them to $106,000 a year.
"So we're already short $40,000. We need to talk to Columbiana and New Waterford because these costs just keep going up."
Miner said there are has been a three-percent increase each year he's been a trustee.
"My understanding is we're the only township using three fire departments," Miner said, adding that motor vehicle accidents are 90 percent of the cost.
"I would have supported the renewal ($60,000)," Miner said, "we're paying 90 percent unrelated to fire. My feeling is the renewal was the way to go."
Hum said, "We need to look at both ends. We're not raising the millage but costs have gone up ...
ever since the fire district was formed."
He recalled the fire district was formed six years ago.
Miner said, "In no way do we want to reduce protection" and Trustee Carl Garwood said they needed to make a move now to get it on the ballot.
Fiscal Officer Pat Hoffmaster said she believed Aug. 3 was the deadline for ballot issues, adding that if it is defeated, "we'll have no income."
"We just always tried to provide the best fire protection, that was the intent. We need to talk to the fire departments," he said, adding they need to give some too.
Miner said the departments should look for other ways to to bill people noting the current levy cost works out to about $46 for a $100,000 home.
"I know that doesn't seem like a lot but in the climate today it is."
The replacement levy will mean an increase of $29.34 to a homeowner, bringing the total to almost $76 with the new millage, Miner explained and added that he didn't think it was the right time for a tax increase while making it clear he was "very thankful for the volunteers in Leetonia, Columbiana and New Waterford ... but today's prices ... we need to look ... but I'm very appreciative of what they do."
In other business, with more drilling sites obtaining permits trustees discussed road use maintenance agreements, called RUMAs, particularly on Miller and Beeson Mill roads where stone has been used to build up and reinforce the roads for the anticipated heavy use.
Miner was dissatisfied with dust and the "slimey" condition of Miller Road after a rain. Road Supervisor Denny Farmer said Miller Road was the "best' of the two and Miner wondered if there was room in the chip and seal program to include them.
Miner said, "I think we can work with Chesapeake ... and shuffle some roads to chip and seal. I'm sure the county will work with us because it's so late (the township's program)" in the year.
Hum suggested asking the Chesapeake supervisors, who had attended a previous trustee meeting, to return.
He noted, "What's happened on Beeson and Miller roads hasn't worked out for them either."
After the meeting, Miner said Chesapeake has suppressed the dust but the "roadability for what we have today" is worse.
He said trustees came to a conclusion that "stone roads will not be acceptable in the township in the future."
In other business, trustees approved a $10,790 purchase for an 11-foot snow plow and plow hitch; and $500 for zoning signs.
Farmer said that most of the east side of the township has been hot-patched.
Zoning Officer Kymberly Seabolt said there have been issues with raccoons at the old Theron's grocery and Miner suggested contacting the county health department while Farmer said he received a call on the property too and referred the complainant to the wildlife officer.
Seabolt also related the second hand story regarding a 14-minute ambulance response time to an accident at her residence on Crestview Road.
She related that a neighbor said, "It just took too long" and it has been a long concern of people on the end of Crestview Road.
Larry Shields can be reached at email@example.com