“The actual construction of a new fire facility is dependent on the passage of the proposed 5-year, 9.0 mill fire levy,” Brunka said.
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Not everyone in the community is ready to support the tax hike.
Long-time resident Mary Smart appealed to the council to keep in mind elderly residents like her living on fixed incomes.
“I don’t know how older people can continue to pay these high prices,” said Smart. “It’s just a struggle.”
Smart, who has lived 18 years in Lebanon, said she already pays $1,200 every six months in property taxes.
On March 27, the council voted unanimously to put the issue on the fall ballot, rather than a smaller increase to the existing 7-mill levy, expiring at the end of next year.
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For every $100,000 of home value, the levy is expected to cost $303 annual a year, $70 more than the existing 7-mill levy. It is projected to raise $4 million a year, an additional $839,000 a year over the existing levy, for fire expenses.
Passage would also prompt the city to put Station 41 up for sale. The location was a converted laundromat on West Silver Street used since 1985 as the city’s main station.
The building — with door clearances so low a new ladder truck wouldn’t fit inside — sits next to the new LCNB bank administrative center. It could be razed to make room for more parking.
Brunka said the property would be appraised and sold to the highest bidder, bringing an estimated $250,000 in revenue to the city.
“The sale of the property would be a competitive process, with the city considering any and all offers made for the purchase of the property,” he said in an email.
The new location would also better position the fire department to respond to fires in growing areas on the city’s north side, according to city officials.
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In addition, the taxes are expected to boost the city’s fire fund, projected to end 2019 with $880,000 in reserve. In each of the past two years, $250,000 in general funds supplemented the fund to cover the department’s expenses.
The department’s budget is about $4.3 million a year.
In November 2013, more than 63 percent of voters approved the 7-mill replacement levy.
Former City Councilman Jim Norris filed as treasurer of Citizens for a Safer Lebanon, a campaign committee promoting passage.
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But Norris referred questions about the campaign back to Brunka.
Early voting begins Wednesday.
Public Information Meeting
Proposed 5-year fire levy and Station 41 facility
Thursday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m.
Station 41, 20 W. Silver St., Lebanon.
For more information, call 513-933-7200