Increased Paramedic Levy Approved for August Vote
If passed, taxes will increase $22 per $100,000 home valuation
Avon Lake voters will see an increased three-year, 2-mill paramedic levy on the Aug. 7 ballot.
Avon Lake City Council unanimously approved an ordinance that will bring the increased levy forward for voter approval at a special election in August.
The city’s current 1.25-mill levy expires this year. Council’s Finance Committee previously reviewed the revenue that would be generated by a 1.75-mill levy and determined that combined with lower property values, that option would not generate sufficient income to maintain current levels. The 1.75-mill option would result in a $200,000 shortfall—and almost certain cutting of personnel in the fire department. They opted for the 2-mill levy after reviewing numbers from the county stating how much income each option would generate.
Presently, residents pay approximately $38 per $100,000 of home valuation annually on the current levy. That rate will increase to $61.25 per $100,000 valuation if the August 2-mill levy option passes.
Some residents questioned why there was a shortfall if the city was now billing insurance companies for ambulance rides.
At the Ward II meeting on Feb. 22, Mayor Greg Zilka addressed the issue, saying money generated from the ambulance billing, which brought in $380,000 this year, went into the General Fund.
“Our General Fund is also running at a deficit,” Zilka said, noting that the $100,000 shortfall the fire department faced this year was paid from the General Fund.
Councilman Larry Meiners, the chairman of the city’s Finance Committee, has been a vocal supporter of passing the levy.
“If it fails, then we will need to lay off one-third of our force effective Jan. 1, 2013,”’ Meiners said.
Avon Lake Fire Chief Glen Eisenhardt previously told council his department saw a 9 percent increase in calls last week and those calls are expected to increase with the city’s aging population and senior centers. Following the vote, he said the fire department is continuing to explore cost-saving options and will be reviewing options on ways to answer 911 calls next week.
An August special election would allow the city to try for another levy on the November 2012 ballot if the option fails.
The levy has only failed once since it was introduced in 1978.