Members of Archbold Village Council and the German Township Trustees heard a presentation from Brett Kolb, Fulton County Auditor, during the Monday, May 1 council meeting.
A proposal developed by the village and the trustees would involve a two-mill levy that would be levied upon all German Township residents– both inside the village limits and those outside the village– to operate the Archbold Fire Department.
Currently, German Township collects two levies: one for one-half (0.5) mill, and one for six-tenths (0.6) of a mill.
One option would be to ask German Township voters for a two-mill levy in the fall, with a pledge to voters that, if approved, the two older millages would not be collected, or “rolled back.”
Kolb said in that scenario, the township would collect $372,594.72.
If a new one-mill levy is passed, along with the older two levies, the total collection would be $367,706.84. The difference is $4,887.88.
“That’s a wash,” said Kenneth “Skip” Leupp, trustee.
With a two-mill levy in place, township residents inside and outside the village would pay the same amount for fire service.
Currently, those outside the village limits only pay levies for fire equipment.
Under the two-mill proposal, residents outside the village would pay approximately $35 more per year.
Jeff Fryman, mayor, questioned the amount village residents would pay.
Ed Leininger, a councilman, said if the two-mill levy passes, village officials will be able to roll back up to 1.5 mills of the village 3.3- mill property tax levy for the general fund.
Village officials estimate it takes money equivalent to 1.5 mills to operate the Archbold Fire Department.
Leupp said he was concerned about accountability.
Under the present system, with the village paying the firefighters and maintaining the fire stations and the township owning and maintaining the equipment, there is more accountability.
Donna Dettling, village administrator, said the proposed agreement calls for a committee, with representatives of both council and the trustees, to oversee the operation of the fire department.
She noted that the final makeup of that committee has not been determined.
Bruce Lauber, president of the trustees, said he was comfortable with a two-mill levy to operate the fire department.
He thought going with a two-mill levy would be “cleaner” than a new one-mill levy with two older levies.
The issue, he said, is making sure the public understands that the 0.5 and 0.6 levies will be rolled back if the two-mill levy passes.
Dettling said at the end of the discussion, “It feels like a little bit of a victory. We have a ways to go to get it done, but it feels like a win-win.”