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Fremont roads levy would raise up to $3M a year for road work

Currently, any road work is funded through Fremont's capital improvement fund, which averages only $300,000 - $500,000 a year.

FREMONT, Ohio — Fremont voters will have an important decision to make on election day.

A temporary income tax would raise taxes for the next five years, but also have a larger benefit for decades.

This summer, Fremont City Council approved a five-year, 0.5% income tax levy on the upcoming November ballot. The levy is estimated to generate $2.5 million to $3 million a year for the city, and all of that additional funding would only be used for city road improvements.

It's a much higher number than the current system, which pulls from a capital improvements fund that averages $300,000 - $500,000 a year. 

"Sometimes that involves the roads, sometimes that involves other stuff," And so obviously if we have 2.5 million or so a year, that's going to bolster our ability to do a lot more," said Fremont City Auditor Paul Grahl. "Currently we're kind of stuck only matching with local matches for grants that we hopefully get awarded, but those grants aren't guaranteed. So, this will allow us to continue to apply for those grants, but then also do a lot more locally."

The goal will be to repair or rebuild all main thoroughfares like State Street, Route 6 and Route 19, similar to what was just completed by a state project on Rawson Avenue.

Grahl says if approved, the road work will be evenly spread out among Fremont's four wards.

Along with improving the existing streets, the goal is to make sure the city's infrastructure is at its best to hopefully bring in new economic development.

"Having that infrastructure built up and in good condition is going to help us keep what industry we have, and then expand into a possible future industrial park," said Grahl.

The city administration wants all residents to know that if you have any questions about this proposed half-percent income tax levy for roads that you're free to attend any upcoming city council meetings over the next month to ask your question.