Ohio fire dept. officials seeking fire levy to maintain joint service
If approved, Issue 39 would generate about $1.93 million annually to help fund the township’s part of the Miami Valley Fire District
By Nick Blizzard
Dayton Daily News
MIAMI TWP., Ohio — Officials in Miami Twp. are asking voters to renew a fire services levy, saying they are operating one of busiest such departments in Montgomery County on a budget equal to that of a decade ago.
Issue 39 is a 3.5-mill, five-year levy seeking no increase in taxes. If approved, it would generate about $1.93 million annually to help fund the township’s part of the Miami Valley Fire District, a shared service with the city of Miamisburg.
The district includes a residential population of about 50,000 with firefighters responding to more than 8,500 calls for service a year in a 35-square mile area, making it the third busiest fire department in the county, according to Fire Chief Matt Queen.
Approval of the levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 slightly less than $100 a year, according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office.
With its passage, “we can continue to provide quality fire suppression, emergency medical service, special rescue operations, fire prevention, inspection and investigation services,” Queen said.
The fire district includes three Interstate 75 interchanges, including the southern tip of Interstate 675, and the Ohio 725 and 741 business corridors that are home to the Dayton Mall and Austin Landing. About 65 full- and part-time firefighters staff its five stations.
The fire services merger between the city and the township temporarily approved in 2012 and made permanent last year has resulted in a cost-savings to taxpayers, who are funding a department at 2006 levels, said Miami Twp. Trustees Vice President Doug Barry.
“And this will keep us funding it at the same level,” Barry has said.
The township’s levy has been approved by voters the past three times it has appeared on the ballot, with voter support rates of 63 percent in 2013, 57 percent in 2008, and 69 percent in 2003, according to the county board of elections.
A levy defeat “will hinder day-to-day operations and put a heavy strain and restrictions upon the level of services we can provide,” Queen said.
Issue 39 is one of two levies the township uses to fund salaries, equipment and maintenance for its share of an annual budget of about $9 million a year. That five-year levy – 3.65 mills – was approved in 2016.
The city’s portion is financed through a levy and money from the general fund, officials have said.
The levy funds “will help sustain daily operations, maintain our apparatus and facilities, and help replace outdated equipment with newer, improved technology,” Queen said. “It will also allow us to continue recruiting and hiring new firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who provide service to this high-demand area.”
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