West Milton seeks renewal of police, fire levy


By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — The West Milton Village Council has approved a resolution placing a 0.5% renewal levy for police and fire services on the ballot during the upcoming general election on November 2, 2021.

“This funds the police and fire department,” Mayor Anthony Miller said. “It’s a large chunk of our safety services, so I would highly encourage everyone out there to support this.”

If approved by voters, the levy renewal will last for five years, with no increase in current tax rates, and funds generated by the levy can only be used for municipal police and fire services. The 0.5% levy was originally approved in 1997 and has been renewed by voters every five years since then. “There’s no tax increase,” municipal finance director Jill Grise said.

Council members approved placing the levy renewal on the ballot during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 11. “These funds go directly towards our citizens’ public safety,” service director Ben Herron said. “It has been renewed by much favor in 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016.”

“The 0.5% really does affect us daily,” Herron said. “As a retired firefighter of 33 years for West Milton; I was around when the levy came about, and I saw the direct impact it had on our fire department. The mobile air unit that we have sitting in the station was our first major purchase with the 0.5%. We did not have funding to get the mobile air unit prior to that.”

“That mobile air unit has filled a lot of cylinders at a lot of fires,” he said. “I’ll always remember that.”

West Milton resident Alice Martin also commented in favor of the renewal levy. “We need this tax,” Martin said. “We have an outstanding police department and an outstanding fire department; we need to support them.”

“I want to encourage everybody to vote yes,” she said.

In other business, council members also approved a $157,016.50 contract with Wagner Paving for the village’s 2021 summer paving program. and a $30,000 contract with Coate Construction for upgrades to the village’s 24 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant sidewalk ramps. Council members also approved a separate $44,777.50 contract with Wagner Paving for resurfacing of the municipal service complex parking lot.”We’re going to be working this year on North Main Street, between Hayes Street and Market Street,” Herron said of the paving program. “To do that properly, we will be doing North Street from Miami all the way to Jay.”

“We’ll be doing Hamilton Street between Miami and Main,” Herron said. “North Main Street, from McKinley North; we’re going to be re-doing that.”

West Milton resident John Bodiker originally approached the council about the ADA compliance of the village’s sidewalk ramps several months ago, and his comments during a previous council meeting led to the current upgrades.

“I wanted to thank Mr. Bodiker for bringing this up,” Herron said. “Even though these sidewalk transitions were once upgraded to the ADA ramps, they still needed to be brought up to the current ADA standards.”

Council members also heard updates on the village’s Ludlow Falls sewer project and a new public address (PA) system that has been installed in the council chambers at the municipal building. “All of the mainline has been tested and passed,” Herron said of the Ludlow Falls sewer project. “People were pretty patient.”

“It will all be cleaned up and re-done,” Herron said. “They just want to make sure that it’s got good compaction before they pave.”

Council members also recognized Tom Beck for his work installing a new PA system in the council’s chamber.

“Tom got a new PA system hooked up,” Herron said. “They will be in to fine-tune it at another meeting, but a big thanks to Tom for getting all that done.”

Council members also heard an announcement about new Third Thursday events planned for downtown West Milton, starting with a Fathers’ Day-themed putt-putt golf event on Thursday, June 17.

“We’re going to start trying to have some food trucks down there with an event, having the stores open downtown from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.” council member Sarah Copp said. “What we’re thinking of doing is having each store have their own putt-putt course.”

“Hopefully, from here on out we’re just going to start doing every third Thursday, inviting food trucks and just opening the town up in the evening,” she said.

Village council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be a work session, held at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, May 25, at the municipal building.

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