To the Editor:
I’m sitting here thinking about what I want to write about when it comes to the ballot issue for Forest Hill Cemetery. While the levy is in one way a renewal that has always been voted for and passed, this time around we are asking for an additional .2-mill increase. Why the increase and can I explain to you the reader to understand what it means in plain English when they say “just 7 cents per $1,000 or .07 cents per $100.
Let’s put this in terms of real dollars and cents. Currently under the .5-mill levy a home owner with a property valuation of $100,000 would pay $15 per year to the cemetery, so what does the .2-mill increase cost? Using the same valuation of $100,000, it will cost an additional $7 per year. Total cost comes out to be $22 per year.
That $22 is less than two can go out and eat at a restaurant. The $7 increase is maybe three cans of pop. It’s about the same, $7, to stop at local gas station and pick up a snack and something to drink.
So why the need for an increase when things are already looking good and the cemetery is headed in the right direction? Forest Hill Cemetery, while a publicly held cemetery supported by you — the property taxpayer — is an independent government agency. What?
Because the ground that the cemetery sits on is jointly owned by Washington Township and the City of Piqua, we are governed by the Ohio Revised Code. This code does not allow the cemetery to borrow money for any improvements. But it does allow the cemetery to borrow money when millage is earmarked for such improvements.
This small increase will provide for some great changes within the cemetery. Two major projects that we would like to undertake in the upcoming years is to open a new section. While we still have a few burial plots, we are beginning to run out of options that are available to those looking for different areas within the cemetery. The second project is to build a storage and maintenance building. Currently, the cemetery uses several different buildings for its storage; at the same time, equipment must sit outside due to the lack of room.
The storage building will allow us to keep all equipment and workers on the main cemetery grounds and keep all workers and equipment from crossing State Route 66 all day long.
While I could go on, I hope that this will give some basic information, so you would able to make an informed decision when you go out and vote on Election Day.
I hope that you will vote in favor of this small increase and continue to be a part of our journey to an even better and historical cemetery.
— Jim Roth