Muskingum Township voters stressed by uncertainty

The additional tax burden of the proposed Marietta City Schools levy will fall with particular weight on a group of property owners who live outside the city but still within the school district.

Muskingum Township residents are facing a costly sewering project, with the cost to individual homeowners still unknown.

The portion of Marietta City Schools district that extends outside the city boundaries already pays slightly higher tax rates. The city levy is 2.4 mills, the levy in Marietta Township is 6.0 mills and the Muskingum Township levy is 6.4 mills.

Devola resident Jay Huck said Thursday the uncertainty about the cost of sewerage for individual properties is worrisome but he thinks the school levy is an important issue.

“Nobody really knows what the cost might be. The problem is that we don’t have cost indicators, no engineering estimates,” Huck said. “I’m pretty sure we’re levy-shy out here, with that coming down the road, but it’s all part of building up the community. Funding schools and school buildings is important, and it comes at a cost. Everyone’s feeling the pinch, but we have to build up our schools.”

Chad Beaver, who lives on Masonic Park Road, said he also supports the levy.

“It is what it is, you can’t stop everything,” he said Friday. “The sewer project hasn’t come through yet, and when that happens…they’re saying $20,000 a household, you need the sewer piped in and the septic tank pumped out and filled. There are a lot of people who can’t afford it – the school levy will affect me by about $300 a year – but you have to support it, the kids need an education.”

Randall Chutes, who also has property on Masonic Park Road, said he opposes the school levy and the sewer project, although the sewer project is one that can’t be stopped.

“I haven’t heard much about the school levy, but I don’t think we need any new schools, and I won’t support it,” he said. “These increases in taxes are a lot, they seem to get raised every election, and as for the sewer deal, I had my septic tested and it’s fine, and the amount it’s going to cost is just way out of line.”

Tracie Francis said her fiance owns their Devola property and they both support the levy, even though it will mean an additional boost in their taxes. She said she has grandchildren in the Marietta school system.

“I’m for the levy,” she said. “We both want new schools.”

Gary Doan, a Muskingum Township trustee, said he wouldn’t be surprised if residents in Devola and Oak Grove are thinking twice about supporting the school levy.

“That sewer thing, to me that would be a great big thing hanging over my head,” he said. “Devola at one time was largely a community of retired residents, on fixed incomes, and they keep getting thrown higher taxes.”

Doan said he’s also worried that the continued increase in taxes might endanger future levies if they are needed.

“It could be hard for volunteer fire departments to get levies passed in the future, and that’s a big concern,” he said.