Logan County taxpayers funding two fire levies

From Kenton Times Reports

RIDGEWAY — Residents in Ridgeway who live on the Logan County portion of the divided village will be paying for two fire protection levies for the next five years and were told there’s not much they can do about it.

Darrell Corwin has brought the issue to the attention of the Ridgeway Council several times since the November election in which Bokescreek Township in Logan County presented voters with an operating levy at the same time the Ridgeway department was seeking a renewal. In the general election, the Ridgeway levy narrowly failed, while the township issue was approved. In the spring’s primary election, Ridgeway voters supported the levy for their department.

But the passage, contends Corwin, means he and other Logan County taxpayers are paying twice for fire protection. Council has agreed and Solicitor Jason Miller has contacted the state attorney general and secretary of state’s offices for a determination. As of Tuesday’s meeting, said Miller, neither office has responded to his inquiry.

So Corwin reported to council he had sought answers from Logan County Auditor Michael Yoder. Corwin said the auditor was aware of the situation and said there was nothing to be done to correct it.

The double tax can be addressed when the Bokescreek levy expires in five years, said Corwin, but until then there is little option for the residents but to pay both taxes. Corwin said Yoder told him the situation was not unique to Ridgeway residents. Some residents of Bellefontaine pay for ambulance service from the city as well to the Macochee district. Corwin noted the voters in Ridgeway who live in Logan County defeated the Bokescreek issue, but the township approved and now that both taxes have passed, they are “on the books” for five years.

“It sounds to me like somebody is not doing their job,” said Corwin. “I asked him who was responsible to check things before they go on the ballot. He blamed the Bokescreek trustees.”

“This is flat-out wrong,” said Mayor Kevin Howland. “Somebody didn’t do their job and now nobody wants to own up to it ... I am surprised no one wants to work with us to remedy this.”

“We just need to make sure in four and a half years this doesn’t happen again,” said Miller.

“Someone needs to be accountable for what goes on the ballot,” said Corwin.

When contacted today by the Times, Yoder confirmed the two taxes will be collected for the fire service, but didn’t understand why the situation is suddenly a issue.

“This is being collected exactly the same way for the last 20 years,” said Yoder. 

He checked with county records which dated back to a 1997 election in which the same issues were collected from Ridgeway residents.

“I don’t understand why this is such a big deal all of a sudden,” said Yoder.