Voters approve all local levys, tax increases to follow

Jason Henry and Jason Henry

Fire Department Levy

The Bowling Green Fire Department’s income tax levy passed with 55 percent of the votes.

The levy will provide the fire department with essential funding.

“What it means is that we will be able to maintain our current manning level that we have right now, meaning we can keep both stations fully staffed,” said Fire Chief Stephen Meredith. “It is wonderful to have a ‘yes’ vote from the citizens because it reinforces their confidence in fire department’s ability to provide the services that they are paying for.”

Per the levy, the city’s income tax will increase from 1.92 percent to 2 percent in January. The added .08 percent increase will provide the fire department with roughly $600,000 in funding, an amount which will keep six firefighters working.

“That will start to be collected next year, January of next year,” Meredith said.

Meredith said he hopes to re-employ recently retired staff members in addition to maintaining the six firefighters whose jobs were in danger due to lack of funds.

The income tax increase means a $20 annual increase for those making $25,000 a year; $40 for those making $50,000 a year; and $60 for those making $75,000 a year.

School District Levy

The Bowling Green City School district tax levy passed with 54 percent of the votes.

The five-year 1.6 mill levy will generate more than $1 million in funds necessary to avoid an operating deficit.

The school district had already made $2 million worth of cuts by eliminating 21 staff positions, closing an elementary school building and cutting programs, according to the Bowling Green Board of Education’s website.

The levy, which will cost $49 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home, will allow the district to reinstate elementary camp and field trips. The funds will also be used to replace an old school bus, maintain the Gifted Program and retain drug prevention specialists, according to the Board of Education’s website.

Wood County Health District Levy

Separately, the Wood County Health District’s 10 year, 0.5 mill replacement levy passed with 60 percent of the votes.

The levy’s funds will be used to provide health services to the infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly. In addition, it will be used for environmental and health education programs.

The levy will commence in 2011.