ST. PARIS – St. Paris voters will decide whether to pass a proposed street levy on the March 17 ballot. According to the ballot language, this issue is for “an additional tax for the benefit of the Village of St. Paris for the purpose of general construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and repair of streets at a rate not exceeding 4 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.40 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for 5 years, commencing in 2020, first due in calendar year 2021.”
“Our streets are deteriorating, and we really don’t have the money in the general budget to resurface them,” said St. Paris Mayor Brenda Cook. “We are in the process now of looking at which streets are most salvageable. To me, this levy is absolutely necessary.”
Village council member Randy Smith said that when the village applies for grants from the state of Ohio, the state requires the village to put up a share of the funds or, as Smith put it, to have skin in the game. He said he believes the whole village needs to have skin in the game.
A Citizens for Streets Committee met at the St. Paris library on Jan. 27 with about 15 St. Paris residents interested in learning more about the proposed levy. St. Paris administrator Spencer Mitchell said he anticipates at least one follow-up meeting and added that providing information about the levy is an important part of allowing St. Paris residents to determine if this is something they want.
“The project is to develop a strategic plan moving forward on improving the streets, and the decision to go to the citizens and ask for more money is a part of that,” said Mitchell. “Not only are we developing a plan, but we really want to show the public that their tax dollars are being put to good use.
“We’re going to try to fix things the best we can, regardless if the levy passes or not,” he added. “The money we are asking for is to be able to do a lot rather than a little.”
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304