The Village of Oak Harbor is seeking to renew its five-mill street levy on the November ballot and will ask voters for an increase of .5 (one half) mill that would generate an additional $30,000 toward construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, and/or repairs to the village’s streets, roads and bridges.
Currently, the levy brings the village $115,000 per year toward road projects and maintenance. This amount has remained relatively the same since the levy was first passed in 1988. With inflation of construction costs and supplies, Oak Harbor recognizes a slight increase is needed to continue to maintain street infrastructure.
“We are grateful to the village residents for their support of the street levy over the last 34 years. Thanks to smart fiscal responsibility, we have been able to maintain and improve the roadways within the Village limits,” said Oak Harbor Mayor Quinton Babcock.
“As we look toward the projects moving forward, combined with the ongoing inflation, we recognized that in order to continue street maintenance and construction we need to ask the voters for an increase.”
Due to a state law passed in 1976, the funds generated by most levies are based on a fixed dollar amount. So even as home prices have risen, the street levy does not generate any more funds.
Mayor Babcock shared that for a $100,000 home owner the additional .5 mill would equal just over $17 per year. Currently, a $100,000 home owner pays approximately $67 each year toward the street levy.
“Part of being fiscally responsible is making sure we are keeping up with costs,” said Bill Eberle, Finance Committee Chair of the Village Council. “In many communities, governments wait until they are very behind in expenses so they have to ask for a very large levy. We hope that what we must ask for is small, and will alleviate the burden of these cost increases on our residents.”
An example of a recent project within the Village is the recently completed North Maple Street reconstruction. Total cost for just one block of the roadway was approximately $330,000. The Village was able to secure a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission for half of that cost, this is a key example of how just one project can significantly stretch local tax dollars.
“We do not take asking for an increase lightly,” said Mayor Babcock. “Our promise to Village residents is that we will continue to be good stewards of our resources and prudently utilize these additional funds to further enhance and maintain the Village streets for residents well into the future.”