Rush Township trustees hope residents on Nov. 8 will vote for a new levy in November, promising to stop collecting on one of their three road levies if it passes.
Rush Township has two levies on the ballot – a new 0.7-mill general expenses levy, and a 1.0-mill road levy renewal. Both levies are for five years.
Trustee Ed Funderburgh said the new levy for general expenses is needed to cover lost funding from the state’s decision to repeal the estate tax in 2012. That decision meant the township stopped receiving approximately $24,500 per year in funding for operations. That adds up to $98,000 lost from 2009-2012, he said.
Funderburgh said the trustees have cut costs, but cuts cannot cover the shortfall anymore. The township’s general fund has seen an average shortfall of $13,400 per year, despite the cuts.
“When (the state) repealed the estate tax, it cut down on funds that not only go to our general fund, but all local governments,” he said. “Everyone is in a difficult situation with their tax base and how to get funding. This was a big part of our funding.”
Funderburgh said if residents approve the new levy, the trustees will pass a resolution to not collect funds for one of their other road levies – a 1.5-mill, five-year levy set to expire in 2018. It raises $18,500 annually. The general expenses levy is estimated to raise $20,000 annually.
Funderburgh said the new general expenses levy would bring in about $1,500 more annually than the road levy they would stop collecting.
Road levy money can only be used for roads, while general expenses levy dollars can be used for any expense for the township, Funderburgh said.
The township’s 1.0-mill renewal levy was approved in 1982, and it brings in an estimated $8,200. The township has one other road levy, a 2.0-mill, five-year road levy that brings in $34,000 annually.
“Our community has always been supportive of the roads and the township and cemeteries,” Funderburgh said. “That’s why we desperately need (the new levy) to be able to balance our general fund. We’ve taken 30 percent of our revenue out. We’ve been running on fumes the last two to three years with no other end in sight, other than having to do this.”