Ohio voters in 74 communities went to the polls yesterday and overwhelmingly endorsed an array of tax levies to support fire, EMS and police services.
Of 74 issues on the ballot, 62 passed representing a success rate of 82% (see complete list of levy results).
100% of the 26 levy renewals were supported by voters. And even levies seeking additional or “new” money did nearly as well with 75%, or 36 of 48 issues succeeding.
Among the losers are residents of Attica in Seneca County where the levy’s failure will result in elimination of all part-time police personnel and reduction in call response times. In Lake County, Madison police will cut part-time positions and will no longer dispatch an officer to assist with home or car lockouts or to take reports of property crimes.
The only bond issue on the ballot — Berne Township in Fairfield County — passed, which will mean a new fire station for the community.
86% of property tax levies passed, as voters supported 59 of 69 such issues.
The only category to fare poorly was requests for new income taxes – only half, or 2 of 4 of these issues passed statewide. The two that failed were requests to fund the fire and police departments in Washington Court House, where departments will be forced to continue to operate at reduced staffing levels.
Local governments lost $1 billion in the last two-year state budget and are expected to lose another $1.4 billion in the budget currently pending in the legislature if lawmakers preserve Governor Kasich’s proposed funding reductions. Public safety is one of the primary uses of these funds, so it will be interesting to see if voters are willing to continue to pick up the tab in the face of continued state cuts.