By Drew Stambaugh Enterprise Editor
November 12, 2013
It was a mostly successful election for Swanton area levies last week.
In Swanton, voters approved two levies, one an increase and one a renewal. Voters approved a five-year renewal for fire operations with an increase from 1.5 to 2-mills by an unofficial tally of 505-302.
The levy will generate approximately $125,000 annually, a net increase of about $16,000 per year. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $15.31 more each year for the .5-mill increase portion.
Voters also said yes to a 0.5-mill renewal for village parks. It was approved 505-302.
Swanton area voters also overwhelmingly approved a levy renewal for the Swanton Public Library. The levy received 1,439 yes votes and 652 no votes.
“We’re absolutely thrilled!” said Janelle Thomas, library director. “The renewal passage is so indicative of the community support that makes the Swanton Public Library what it is.”
The Swanton library is the only public library in Fulton County that has not had to make concessions to hours of operation or services since state funding dramatically dropped in 2008, she added.
“We’re extremely fortunate in that regard, and we owe that to the support shown by the community,” Thomas said. “Passing the levies has thus far allowed us to make necessary capital improvements such as the parking lot, landscaping, fresh carpet, return staffing to previous levels, implement software upgrades, and replace worn window seals.”
Also this year, the library was able to double its budget for acquisitions.
“We absolutely could not be more grateful for such a fantastic community that values what we strive to provide,” Thomas said.
In Fulton Township, the splitting of a levy into two was not successful, as voters only gave approval to one of the two levies.
The traditional 1.5-mill, five-year renewable fire and rescue services and apparatus levy was divided into two .75-mill replacement levies, Fulton Township Trustees President Robert Huskins said. One will still fund fire and rescue services, while the other was intended to fund township road maintenance.
The renewal and decrease of the fire levy was handily approved. But the new levy for roads was voted down 360-322, according to unofficial results.
Huskins said the levy’s division won’t compromise the quality or quantity of fire and rescue services. The township is contracted with the Delta and Swanton fire departments.
“The current 1-mill levy is more than sufficient to take care of our contracts. It won’t diminish service whatsoever,” he said. “The service will be maintained the exact same way it is.”
The only levy seen by all Fulton County voters was a five-year, 0.7-mill renewal Four County Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services District (ADAMhs). It was approved in Fulton County and overall.
First approved in 1989, the renewal levy generates about $2.1 million annually, at a cost of $20.95 per year for the owner of a $100,000 home. No additional funds will be generated. The revenue goes to county mental health services, as well as to supplying job training and eliminating drug and alcohol addictions and family violence.
Lou Levy, the agency’s communications director, said the agency served about 5,700 adults and children with programs in 2012.
The Evergreen Local School District avoided major cuts when voters approved a .75 percent income tax renewal. Unofficial results showed the tax being approved 653-502.
The Fulton County portion of the district voted 613 yes votes with 420 no (59.3 percent to 40.7). Lucas County voters cast 40 yes votes to 82 no votes (32.8 percent verses 67.2 no).
Evergreen Superintendent James Wyse was very pleased.
“While we have an unofficial tally of votes, pending provisional and absentee ballots to count, we have all indications that the renewal passed,” said Wyse, Wednesday morning. “Thank you, the residents of our school district, for your support.
“In these days of uncertainty in state and federal funding sources, it makes it even more critical that the local voters support the students at the polls,” he said. “We are very thankful and grateful for the continued support.”
David Coehrs and Norris Ledyard contributed to this article