Trustees Ask Voters for Extra $100K

PEASE TOWNSHIP – Pease Township trustees see the need to improve roads and keep streetlights on in the township, and they are asking residents for about $100,000 more annually to achieve the work.

Pease Township voters – except those living in Bridgeport, Brookside, Yorkville and Martins Ferry – will see two additional levies on their ballot when they go to the polls Nov. 6. The first levy asks voters for 1 mill specifically for maintenance of roads and bridges.

The second 1-mill levy, meanwhile, would go toward the township’s operating expenses. Money generated would be geared toward the elimination of slum and blight in the village, as well as paying utility bills to keep the street lights operational, according to Trustee Michael Bianconi.

Information from the Belmont County Auditor’s Office indicates each levy is expected to generate $49,562 annually, and that the two levies together would result in about an extra $100,000 in revenue for Pease Township.

A home valued at $50,000 would be assessed an additional $15.31 annually in taxes for each levy, resulting in a $30.62 yearly additional cost for the property owner if both levies were approved.

The same homeowner with a homestead exemption would pay a lesser amount – an extra $22.96 for both levies, according to the information.

Pease Township has 45 miles of highway to maintain, Bianconi said.

“We need to keep up on our roads,” he said. “Everything is going up. It is what it is.

“The federal government isn’t giving money to the state, the state isn’t giving money to the county and the county can’t give money to the townships,” he added. “We have to take care of ourselves.”

In 2003, Pease Township received $67,898 in local government funds, according to information provided by Bianconi. Ten years later, for 2013, that figure is slated to be $27,376.

Two separate levies are necessary in Pease Township because the money designated for roads and bridges can’t be co-mingled with that in the general operating fund, he continued. Bianconi noted the second levy will go toward paying the electric bill for the 175 street lights in the township.

“We’ll probably be shutting off a lot of them if this doesn’t pass,” he said.

Bianconi believes voters will see the money as well-spent.

“Of all the taxes you pay, I guarantee you use these services,” he said. “All ages, all genders … we all need roads to travel on. And people want to have better driving conditions.”