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The last line in the Scio Tax Sanity press release reads, “Scio voters should consider the actual costs when they vote this November 7th.”

This press release was sent to the Sun Times News (STN) by email on October 6. In its wording it’s dated Sept. 29 and has a title of “Scio’s Community Report Misleads Voters on Scio’s Fire Tax Assessment!”

The press release says, “In Scio Township’s Fall 2023 Scio Community Report, a ‘Letter From the Fire Chief’ claims the annual cost of the proposed new fire assessment will cost ‘A homeowner with a home valued at $400,000…approximately $50-$60 annually…”.

“The report mistakes the change Scio home owners may see in their monthly mortgage escrow payments for the full annual cost, $630/year, the amount that typical Scio homeowners could be made to bear.”

“The newsletter is the Township’s official quarterly communication to Scio’s voters and taxpayers. The report understates the likely cost of this proposed tax assessment. Scio voters should consider the actual costs when they vote this November 7th.”

Scio Tax Sanity also has a website.

Its home page says:

WE SUPPORT OUR SCIO FIREFIGHTERS AND THEIR WORK!

HOWEVER, OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS:

  • The cost of Scio’s government activities have increased at 3X the rate of inflation (84% vs. 26%).
  • The increase in the cost for Scio’s Fire Department has increased by 10X the rate of inflation (250% vs. 26%).
  • The increase in the revenue for the Fire Department has increased 120%.
  • Scio’s population has decreased by 10.5% (from 19,575 to 17,526).
  • Structure fires accounted for <5% of all Fire Department calls. The vast majority of calls were for medical assistance. Most of the township would not benefit from a second fire station.

THE TOWNSHIP IS NOW ASKING FOR A 233% INCREASE IN THE FIRE-SAFETY MILLAGE!

But our needs can be met by expanding Scio’s EMS services, not by a new, fully staffed and equipped fire station!

We believe this proposal is unreasonable and unjustified based on available information!

VOTE NO

ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7!

Further information and supporting information may be found in the supporting documents below.

STN reached out to the email on the press release with some questions. They were answered by the ScioTaxSanity Group, a group of township residents, who said they feel that the Fire Chief’s column in the last issue of the Scio Community Newsletter contained misleading information.

The group said: He states: “A homeowner with a home valued at $400,000 will generally see increases in the amount they pay in taxes that goes to the Fire Department of approximately $50-$60 annually, until both stations are fully staffed (8-10 years from now).”

The Scio TaxSanity Group told STN, “Clearly, most people will read this and think their taxes will increase no more than $60. This is written in a very misleading manner, as what will actually happen is an increase of $50-$60 each year for up to 10 years! Thus a $600 tax increase for a $400K home. Voters also need to realize though the township says they are going to phase in the millage amount over a number of years, they can in fact levy as much as they want….including the full 3.5 mils at any time. Historically the township has always levied as much of the fire millage as they can….every year.”

The Scio Tax Sanity Group said, “Rather than a huge tax increase to pay for a fully staffed second fire station, what we believe the township needs, by their own admission, is better response for medical calls. The townships needs could be met by a smaller ambulance/EMS station. Our group would support a more realistic, less costly effort like this.”

The group also said they “do not believe that the 2nd fire station is warranted based on the data that show the vast majority of the calls in the SE sector of the township are medical calls….not structure fires (which account for less than 6% of calls).”

On the group’s website there are some documents, including a letter from longtime township homeowner and commercial real estate owner John Boyle. He presents a very detailed letter to the Scio Township Board that attempts to memorialize the comments he made before the board on Aug. 29. He said this was regarding the board’s proposed 223 percent in the Fire-Safety Millage.

His letter ends with, “Finally, I will suggest that voting this unjustified massive 233 % increase in millage after 10 years of increase at 10X the rate of inflation—should not, in any way, be construed as disrespect or disregard for the Township’s First Responders.”

To learn more about this group’s views and to see the documents, including Boyle’s entire letter, go to sciotaxsanity.org.

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