Freedom Twp.;Building levy on Nov. ballot

Larry Limpf

Voters in Freedom Township will decide in November if they want an additional property tax to fund the construction of a new office/maintenance building.
A 1.75-mill, 10-year levy will be on the Nov. 3 ballot that would generate approximately $132,000 annually and cost the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 about $61.25 a year.
Kent Schuerman, a township trustee, said perpetual flooding along the Portage River and the damage it’s done to the current township office and maintenance facility on Water Street have prompted the trustees to seek an alternative site for a new building.
“Our township building and maintenance garage are in a very flood prone area,” Schuerman said. “When the Portage River comes over its banks we are kind of out of business so to speak. We can’t get to our building without a boat and it’s been like that for years. Our maintenance garage, which sits beside the township building, has a workbench around the whole shop so we can pick everything up when the water comes in and get everything off the floor. It’s in bad shape.”
The office building has flooded so often there is a problem with mold, he said. Six to eight feet of water in the basement when the river rises isn’t uncommon.
The township rents barns a safe distance away from the river to store road salt, vehicles and equipment, shuffling between them as the seasons change.
The trustees have purchased a five-acre parcel along State Rt. 105 where a new building would be located. Preliminary cost estimates for a new structure are around $800,000.
“Obviously it’s not an ideal time to put a levy on. But we’ve contacted the Wood County treasurer’s office and they are willing to finance the cost of the building and told us we could get a below market
interest rate,” Schuerman said. “We’re hoping we won’t have to collect the full 10 years to get the building paid off. We’re trying to be as fiscally responsible as we can.”
It’s been frustrating, he said, having to contend with the flooding. There have been times when the fiscal officer hasn’t been able to access the office and the mold problem has created an unhealthy situation for employees.
“Something needs to be done,” Schuerman said.
Voters in the township will also decide two renewal levies; both are for fire and emergency medical services: a 3-mill, 3-year levy and a 1-mill, 5-year levy.


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