Three tax levies on the ballot in Washington County Tuesday to benefit local schools passed, as did a renewal levy for Marietta Township. But supporters of a second Marietta Township levy, which would have funded round-the-clock squad service by the Reno Fire Department, weren't so lucky.
That levy failed with 590 votes against it and 524 votes for it.
The department really took a gamble with the levy, which was a replacement levy with an increase. That meant not only was new funding on the line but if the 3.25-mill levy failed, they would lose the 1 mill they have already been receiving to fund daytime squad service.
That scenario happened and now fire department officials will have to consider whether to eliminate service altogether, when the existing levy funds cease later this year, or to put another issue on the November ballot. That would be their last chance to do so if they want to avoid a gap in the funding.
We think if another levy goes on the ballot it should be only a renewal of the 1-mill levy, without additional funds.
Not only have the voters spoken on the suggested increase but we don't think it's worth it to risk losing everything in a bid to get more tax dollars.
The fairly slim margin on the issue in Tuesday's election means residents would likely be willing to support a renewal of the levy, with no new taxes, as they did for the Marietta and Wolf Creek school systems.
That way, at least the service residents there are accustomed to, could continue.
If an increase is sought again in November and the levy once again fails, residents would likely pay with a loss of service.
In these economic times, a straight renewal is a much more viable option and may end up best serving Marietta Township.