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Belmont County trustees asking state to restore local government funds

Updated: Friday, August 29 2014, 04:35 PM EDT
BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio -- Earlier this month, we told you how local townships and villages continue to struggle after funding cuts were issued by the state of Ohio several years ago.
In Belmont County, there’s another township levy and a petition asking for help. It’s a 75-signature petition, directed to the Ohio Governor's Office on behalf of Belmont county trustees and a number of other local and state leaders, asking for the state to restore -- not increase -- its local government funds prior to the economic crisis in 2011.
Three years ago, Ohio was faced with an $8 billion dollar debt. As a result, cuts were made across the state. And suddenly, there was a decrease in local government funds. It's what township trustees say is forcing them to turn to their own residents for help after struggling over the budget in the last several years.
"The problem is that our township funds have been drastically reduced to the point that we have to put levies on the ballot,” explained Franklin Shaffer, president of the Belmont County Township Association.
Shaffer cited a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars since the initial budget cuts were made.
"They did balance the budget at the state level, and now we have to go to the backs of the property owners to try to make up the difference," Shaffer said.
A number of township infrastructures are in poor condition, so in November, voters will be asked to decide on a 4 mill replacement road and bridge levy on Election Day.
Shaffer has also drummed up support for the cause by way of a petition. It’s a certified letter lobbying for Belmont County's township incomes to be restored by state leaders -- 3.68 percent of the state's general revenue fund.
"It's been a rough way go to over the last several years for us and I’m hoping it will do some good," Shaffer said.
If you want more information on how much the Pultney Township -- and other levies -- will cost you, the county auditor or your local trustees can to assist you.
Township trustees say the state has proposed an increase from 1.66 percent to 1.69, but local officials note, it's not enough of an increase to assist with infrastructure repairs. We have reached out to the Governor's Office for a response. We have not heard back.
As always, stay with NEWS9 and for the latest.

Belmont County trustees asking state to restore local government funds

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