Voters in Avon and Avon Lake will cast ballots in Tuesday’s special election related to each city’s safety forces, and Avon Lake voters also will decide on two charter amendments.
Those are the only issues on the ballot Tuesday — meanings those are the only voters who have to head to the polls.
Residents of Avon Lake are being asked to approve a 2-mill firefighter-paramedic levy that pays salaries and benefits for eight of the department’s 28 personnel.
The issue also covers costs of new fire trucks, ambulances, fuel, required medical and safety equipment and insurance, according to Avon Lake fire Lt. Jeff Moore.
The rest of the Fire Department’s personnel are paid through the general fund.
The levy is expected to raise $1.65 million a year for five years. It would cost $61.25
annually in taxes for the owner of a $100,000 home. Before this issue, residents were paying $38 annually for a 1.25-mill levy.
The smaller levy raised about $890,000 a year and didn’t generate enough money to cover the anticipated $1.5 million budget for the eight firefighter-paramedics, equipment purchases and other needs.
“That account really fell short the last few years,” Moore said. “It had been eaten up for purchases of vehicles and equipment such as cardiac monitors.”
Failure of the issue could lead to layoffs of the eight firefighters paid by the issue along with other cuts necessitated by having to seek money from the general fund to pay for fuel costs and other needs, Moore said.
Moore acknowledged there is always a worry when taxpayers are asked for more money.
“The country is in a no-tax mood,” Moore said. “People want services, but they want another way found to pay for them. And that can’t always be done.”
The issue was first approved in 1977 when the city was among the first in Lorain County to offer paramedic services.
In 1996, Avon Lake voters approved a millage increase on the levy from 1.25 to
1.54 mills. It was reduced back to 1.25 mills after the increase led to a surplus.
The Fire Department answered a record 2,158 fire and rescue calls in 2011. Of that total, 1,443 were ambulance runs. An additional 350 service calls were made to help people who had fallen or had other non-medical issues, Moore said.
The two charter amendments in Avon Lake are: One granting executive session rights to the city’s Board of Municipal Utilities and a second that would bar the same board from meeting on the same dates City Council meets.
Meanwhile, in Avon, the only other community to have an issue on Tuesday’s ballot, voters will be asked to renew a pair of levies to help fund operations of the city’s fire and police departments.
Each of the safety force levies is a half-mill, which runs for five years. Both levies were last renewed in 2006. Revenue from each is used to buy equipment and vehicles.
A half-mill police levy generates just under $370,000 a year, according to Avon Finance Director Bill Logan.
The renewal would cost $15.26 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home.
The fire levy was first approved in 2003 when the city authorized creation of a full-time Fire Department.
Homeowners of properties valued at $100,000 pay $11.51 annually for that issue, which raises about $273,400 each year.
Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146