LIBERTY- The township will try again this November to pass a road levy, and officials hope they've given voters enough incentive this time around.
The 1.25-mill, five-year levy will provide money toward a 20 percent Issue 1 grant match. Issue 1 brought in $7 million in state grant money to Mahoning and Trumbull counties several years ago.
The grant will yield $200,000 to resurface Murray Hill and Shady roads around Liberty High School. The grant funds have been awarded, but the township can only access that money by putting up the matching 20 percent, money Trustee Stan Nudell said they don't have without the levy.
The 20 percent is only $40,000, but the levy is expected to yield $280,000. Administrator Pat Ungaro said that leaves the township another $240,000 to resurface other roads. The levy will cost taxpayers about $36 per year for every $100,000 of property value.
"If this thing passes, I can do $300,000 worth of resurfacing work in the spring and probably another $300,000 in the summer of next year," Ungaro said. "I could double what we can do."
Nudell acknowledged Liberty residents are not fans of new levies but said the township has no other way to get the money and has no other money coming in for roads.
Liberty Township Additional Road Maintenance and Repair Levy
TERM: Five years
AMOUNT: $280,000 per year
COST: $36 per year for every $100,000 of property value.
He says many residents write him letters and call his office about damage done to their vehicles by the sub-standard streets.
"You should see the letters I get," he said. "It's up to the people, though. I would love to put this levy off for another year or two years, but then how long do we wait before the roads are really in dire straits? They are now," he said in June.
Township trustees hoped voters would approve a levy last year so they would have the matching funds needed to use federal funds to repair properties damaged by 100-year floods and to begin a system of road repairs. Of the township's 61 miles of roadway, Nudell described 18 miles as needing significant work at that time.
Passage of that 2 mill, 5-year levy would have cost owners of a $100,000 household an additional $5.10 a month and would have provided the local share needed to do nearly $2.3 million worth of road and infrastructure improvements.
But Nudell it was not written in a way that drew voters' support.
He said the deterioration of roads in the last year is also likely to draw more support for the levy.
The township also entered into an agreement with Trumbull County to share responsibilities and authority for maintaining road quality standards, especially as it applies to heavy truck traffic related to the natural gas drilling industry. This agreement will hold the drilling companies responsible for repairing damage caused to the roads by their vehicles.