Ohio fire/EMS fundraising to campaign for tax levy, avoid brownouts

Fire officials say the levy would provide funds to hire more firefighters and paramedics, ensuring more consistent coverage


Nick Blizzard
Dayton Daily News, Ohio

DAYTON, Ohio — A group wants to raise $5,000 to fund a campaign for a West Carrollton fire levy.

If passed, the levy would allow the city to add full-time staff to help avoid future fire station shutdowns, temporary closures it says could cause West Carrollton response times to jump significantly.

The West Carrollton Fire Department in Ohio is seeking to raise $5,000 to help them campaign for a tax levy that would provide funding to hire more firefighters and paramedics. (Photo/West Carrollton Fire Department Facebook)
The West Carrollton Fire Department in Ohio is seeking to raise $5,000 to help them campaign for a tax levy that would provide funding to hire more firefighters and paramedics. (Photo/West Carrollton Fire Department Facebook)

The Citizens for Fire/EMS Levy Committee has also scheduled a series of forums designed to inform voters on the need for the March 17 levy, a 3.9-mill, five-year issue that would raise taxes on property owners in the city.

“We are reaching out for financial support that you can provide to help us spread the word” a fundraising letter states about the levy.

Temporary closings – or brownouts – at the city’s two fire stations, according to the committee’s letter, could lead to circumstances where “response times to your emergency could double.”

A Facebook page - Citizens for W.C. Fire / EMS - has been set up and a PayPal account established, according to the committee.

The committee’s forums so far include eight sessions through the end of February with neighborhood watch groups, clubs, churches and at community events.

West Carrollton City Council approved placing the levy on the ballot to fund more full-time firefighters to avoid brownouts at Stations 56 and 57 due to staff shortages.

The brownouts have occurred for more than a year as the city has been unable to attract and retain part-time firefighters and paramedics, which West Carrollton officials have said is the model the fire department has largely relied on for decades.

If approved, the levy would increase the taxes of owners of homes valued at $100,000 to about $136 a year, according to the city.

Passage would allow West Carrollton to hire four more full-time firefighter/paramedics and “provide a competitive wage and incentive package to attract and retain additional part-time employees,” records show.

Voter approval would also help the city in retaining two firefighter/paramedics hired last year as a short-term move against the brownouts.

“These new hires will yield fully-staffed fire stations and ultimately a substantial reduction in the frequency of brownouts,” according to the city.

A survey conducted by Wright State University last year indicated that more than 52 percent of respondents would favor approving a property tax hike in the range of $100 to $125 a year.

When the property tax hike range was increased to $125 to $150 a year, 42% said they were likely to support while 49.3% said they were unlikely, according to the results.

More than 86% of those responding to the survey said they owned homes, a Wright State official said.

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©2020 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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