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Sugar Creek Township excludes Dalton from taxing district

DGKN staff report

SUGAR CREEK TWP.  Dalton residents are no longer part of a taxing district with the unincorporated northern part of the township, but village voters may still have an opportunity to vote on a fire and EMS levy in November.

Over the past few months, Sugar Creek Township trustees have been working with county officials and local representatives to put issues on the ballot to help meet the needs of local fire departments. Trustees received input from residents as well as representatives from East Wayne Fire District and Kidron Volunteer Fire Department, which the levies would primarily support if passed.

Originally, trustees approved to create two taxing districts: Northern Sugar Creek Township Fire District and Southern Sugar Creek Township Fire District, and to put two levies on the ballot for voters to consider: 2.9 mills to benefit the EWFD in the north, and 1.6 mills to support KVFD in the south, with a small percentage going to Orrville Fire Department. Both levies are two years.

Last week, the Wayne County Board of Elections questioned the Northern Sugar Creek Township Fire District overlapping the East Wayne Fire District. The EWFD includes villages of Dalton, in the township, and Marshallville in Baughman Township. With a deadline to submit paperwork this week, township trustees called a special meeting Saturday. EWFD set a meeting for Monday, after the press time for this edition. EWFD could potentially put a levy on the ballot. Marshallville also is expected to discuss the issue  Board President Jon Hofstetter said in a recording of Saturday’s meeting available at that all the entities are aware of the issue.

“We are the first moving part of this whole correction for the ballot,” he said.

Nothing will change with what has been planned for the Southern Sugar Creek Township Fire District.

Trustee Scott Widmer said it’s difficult to shift gears in just a couple of days. He said taxpayers in the unincorporated northern part of the township would be paying too much compared to other residents if the levy were to pass based upon the smaller percentage of calls outside of Dalton. He suggested to take a smaller step to see where the voters stand and he said a smaller amount would be appropriate such as 1.5 to 2.0 mills. Widmer also said northern residents wouldn’t think it was fair paying to subsidize Marshallville and mutual aid in Chippewa Township.

Trustee Tom Gregory said it sounded like the original plan remains the same but “we’re getting there a different way.”

All three trustees agreed to rescind the prior resolution, and recreate the northern district excluding Dalton. Widmer voted against putting the new levy before Northern Sugar Creek Township Fire District voters at 2.9 mills. Auditor Jarra Underwood certified the amount which would generate about $125,000.

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