A resolution to begin the process of putting two levies for funding road improvement projects on the November ballot has been approved by the Lake Township trustees.
Following a recommendation by Dan McLargin, township road supervisor, the trustees are leaning toward seeking the replacement of a 1-mill, 5-year levy due to expire at the end of the year and asking voters to pass a new 1-mill, continuing levy.
Many roads have fallen into disrepair, the trustees said, because the existing levy, which is based on 1986 property valuations when it was originally passed, only generates about $114,670 annually.
If it is replaced rather than renewed by voters, the existing levy would be based on current valuations and generate about $169,000 annually. A new levy would also be based on current valuations and generate that amount.
One option the trustees discussed was to let the replacement levy expire at the end of five years if the continuing issue is approved.
Last year, it cost the township about $60,000 a mile to repair roads, according to Melanie Bowen, a trustee. Consequently, the trustees are seeing a growing backlog of roads that need major repairs.
“At what point are you being remiss by not repairing the roads?” she said. “We’ve got to do something.”
Trustee Richard Welling said when he became a trustee in 1998, the township on average completed three miles of resurfacing and repairs in a year. Since then, only about 1.5 miles get repaired in a year due to increased costs.
The trustees Tuesday reviewed a list of roads that McLargin submitted to the Wood County engineer’s office for cost estimates, including Commodore Street, and Isch, Latcha, Ayers, and Libbey roads.
The Isch Road project is complicated because it can’t be paved unless it is widened. Bowen said that would require the purchase of easements.
McLargin has also prepared an extensive list of roads that includes their conditions, ranging from fair to very poor.
The township may take a hit to valuations due to the damage caused by the June 5 tornado as affected residents seek reductions in the taxable value of their property, Bowen said, which will put even more strain on levy revenues.
If passed, the levies would only be collected from property owners in the unincorporated area of the township.
Ron Sims, a trustee, noted during the discussion that maintaining roads and cemeteries are the two main responsibilities for township trustees as stipulated by state law.
Vicki Schwamberger, township fiscal officer, said past road repairs have been partially paid for with revenues from the general fund and some of the levy revenues are also used to pay for salaries in the road department.
In other business, the trustees agreed to not accept property going through forfeiture in Wood County Common Pleas Court.
The 0.4-acre is located near the intersection of Fostoria and Millbury roads.
The trustees also agreed to pay overtime for employees who worked unscheduled hours due to the tornado.