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Our View: Time not ideal for road referendum

Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

On April 9, voters in Blackberry Township will be asked whether to approve raising the limiting tax rate for the township road district.

The measure would take the existing 16.5 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation and nearly double it to 30.26 cents.

That would result in the owner of a $300,000 home paying about $140 more a year in taxes.

According to meeting documents, the Blackberry Township Road District has operated under the same 16.5 cent tax levy for more than 35 years.

Fifty-eight miles of road are maintained by the township. A successful referendum would see the road resurfacing schedule go from once every 50 years to once every eight to 10 years.

Despite that fact, it is difficult to support so sharply raising taxes on homeowners at this time.

Blackberry Township residents voted down similar referendums in 2003 and 2004. Families are watching their pocketbooks more closely these days.

The next opportunity for a referendum would be in April 2014.

If the current measure does not pass, Highway Commissioner Rodney Feece has said the department will continue to do the best it can.

That likely will mean more patchwork on township roads, but we believe residents are willing to live with that during the next year.

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