Delhi Township voters face tough choices in May

Three levies could squeeze family budgets

Like other Delhi Township residents, Pete Feichtner faces a tough choice when he goes to the polls on May 7.

There are three levies on the Delhi ballot - for Oak Hills Schools, the Delhi Paramedic and Fire Service, and Delhi Parks and Recreation.

If all three pass, the owner of a $100,000 house will pay $220.72 in taxes, according to the Hamilton County Auditor. Double that to $441.44 for the owner of a $200,000 house.

The Delhi Civic Association is holding a public forum Thursday night so officials from the township and Oak Hills Schools can answer questions about the levies. The meeting is at 7 p.m. at the Delhi Park Lodge.

"I haven't made up my mind about a couple of them," said Feichtner, who says he belongs to the Tea Party. "I do know the Fire Department needs that money and that thing is going to pass or there's going to be trouble in Delhi Township.

"I haven't decided how I'm going to vote on the others yet."

Township administrator Pete Landrum says he understands.

"Each voter is going to have to look at those levies and decide what they can afford, what their priorities are," Landrum said. "They're going to go into the voting booth and say, ‘Here are three levies and I can afford one – or two.' "

Landrum says he doesn't see it as a case of the township and the schools competing against each other. He says they're in the same boat - and it's sinking because the state pulled the plug on funding.

"We made our decision (to put the township levies on the May ballot) before (the schools) found out from the auditor what their number was going to be," Landrum said.

"I can tell you as far as the township is concerned, from 2011 to 2014, we lost 70% of our revenue," Landrum said. "Our other township revenues come from the cable fee, the local government fund and property taxes. That's it - and all of those are flat or in decline.

"All of the townships in Ohio are suffering under the strain. In five years, you might see the landscape of Ohio change drastically. Townships might not exist in five years or so.

"It's been eight years since Delhi asked for fire and parks levies," Landrum said. "They're five-year levies, but we've been able to stretch the dollars to last this long and not come back to the voters until it was absolutely necessary. Plus, we've kept our operating budget razor thin."

Here's what the levies would cost separately to the owner of a $100,000 home, per year:

1.75-mill fire levy: $52.77

0.75-mill park levy: $22.61

4.82-mill school levy: $145.34

Feichtner says the state has put townships and schools in a terrible predicament.

"I'm glad I'm not a member of the board of trustees or the school board. This government uncertainty is craziness," Feichtner said.

Tea Party membership notwithstanding, Feichtner says he has "a lot of confidence and faith" in Landrum – "for a government guy."

"He really knows what he's talking about. He's got the numbers and he can back them up," Feichtner said.

See Landrum's presentations for the township levies and learn what services will be cut if they fail at http://delhi.oh.us/admin/levy.html

The Oak Hills Schools levy is also on the ballot in Green Township. Oak Hills is hosting meetings to take questions and comments about the school levy. The next meetings are April 13 at the Diamond Oaks Community Room (10 a.m.) and the Rapid Run Middle School Auditorium (1:30 p.m.).

 

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