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Columbia Township levy pulled from November ballot

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Voters in Columbia Township will not be asked to consider a 0.85-mill levy that would have funded the hiring for deputies to patrol the area after township trustees asked it be removed from the November ballot.

The township sent a letter to the Lorain County Board of Elections on Sept. 5 asking that Issue 37 be removed from the Nov. 6 ballot. The letter said the “decision was made after considerable public input.”

Columbia Township Trustee Mike Musto said the levy’s funds were intended to be used to hire two full-time deputies from the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office to patrol the township. Musto said deputies already patrol all of Lorain County 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and that there aren’t “very many problems” in the township.

“We had a group of people that wanted to put it on the ballot,” Musto said. “As trustees, we do what the people want us to do. We started working to put it on the ballot.”

But, after the issue was placed on the ballot, the trustees realized the numbers weren’t working out.

“There are questions being asked that we have not received the answers to,” Musto said. “We didn’t get to the sheriff fast enough to make an intelligent choice. What we found out was that with all the costs involved that were going to be (the township’s) responsibility, the millage that we were asking for was not going to be enough. We could either pull the levy or lie to our residents. Obviously, we pulled the levy.”

Musto said part of the problem was the numbers the trustees used to figure the millage were from five years ago when the township first looked into hiring deputies.

“I was using outdated information. I’ll take the blame for that. That was a bad move,” he said. “The numbers have changed in five years, and unfortunately, I didn’t think they would change as much as they did.”

Musto said the trustees will continue to look into how much it will cost to hire two deputies, and the initiative could appear on the ballot next year.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.
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