BELLAIRE - Pultney Township trustees want to know if residents are willing to pay higher taxes to get their roads paved, so they will host three meetings this month to discuss their finances and options with the public.
The meetings all begin at 7 p.m., and are set for Tuesday at the Spirit of '76 Fire Department; June 17 at the Neffs Fire Department; and June 18 at the Rock Hill Community Center.
Trustee Frank Shaffer, also president of the Belmont County Trustees Association, said residents of Pultney Township have been telling trustees in recent months they want their roads paved, but reductions in local government funds from the state limit trustees' abilities to do many road improvements.
A 1.45-mill levy first passed in 1976 generates about $27,000 annually - about the cost of paving one small alley, according to Shaffer. He said bids to pave a 1.4-mile road in the township recently came in at about $243,000.
"It probably wasn't a bad levy in 1976," he said. "They could do things with it - more than one road. Today, we might be lucky to pave a small road."
Shaffer believes a 4-mill levy, expected to generate $248,000 annually, is needed in Pultney Township to address road issues adequately over the next five years.
"We need to sit down and explain our financial situation to the people of Pultney Township," he said. "They need to see our budget numbers after local government funds were cut, and inheritance tax taken away.
"We want to explain to people what the results of a new levy would be. We want explain to people our situation, and get some feedback. Do they want us to go for a higher levy and get things done, or do they want us to leave it as it is?"
A 4-mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home in Pultney Township about $120 a year, according to Shaffer. The average property in the township is valued at about $70,000.
Pultney Township's yearly budget is about $550,000, much of which must be used for purposes specified by state law.
The township has two workers, he said. There are 45 miles of roads in the township that need care, as well as four cemeteries to be maintained during the summer.
"We have to patch potholes," Shaffer said. "And if we work to get them patched, the grass grows in the cemeteries. People also want grass mowed along the road."