3 Butler County communities will keep fire departments after levies pass

Some of Butler County’s smallest communities say the fire levies approved Tuesday by voters will help supplement department funds that have been pinched through state budget cuts.

Voters approved fire levies in the village of Millville, as well as in St. Clair Twp., where two passed, and Wayne Twp., according to unofficial final results from the Butler County Board of Elections.

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Very early in the evening, Millville’s levy had been behind, but only by two votes, 20-18. But when all votes were tallied, Millville’s levy was approved 55.9 percent to 44.1 percent, yet still a slim margin of 127 votes for, compared to 100 against, according to the unofficial count.

The village of Millville sought an additional five-year, 2.75-mill fire levy.

Both of St. Clair Twp.’s requested levies won easily, one by 67.4 percent, the other by 69.3 percent. One is a 5-year, 0.75-mill fire levy renewal. The other is a 5-year, 0.5-mill emergency medical technician levy renewal.

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Wayne Twp.’s proposed additional 3-mill continuing fire levy won by a margin of 58.9 percent to 41.1 percent.

“That’s wonderful,” said Wayne Twp. Trustee Bill Jones told the Journal-News. “We really need it. We really do.”

“Mainly, what it is going to do is replace an existing levy,” Jones said. “We’re going to drop the existing levy and adopt this one. The main reason and focus for this was we have to get a fire truck.”

“We’ve got one that still works, but it’s getting past its prime,” he said. While there are repairs that can be made, “eventually, we have to get another truck. That was the main focus, and there was a little bit put in for reserves, to replace some equipment that needs to be replaced as well. Hopefully this will last for quite a while, what we would not have to come back.”

“With the state budget cuts for municipalities and townships, it really put a pinch on a small township, unfortunately,” Jones said. “It was something we had to do, and the voters saw fit to do it. That’ll be a great relief.”

In St. Clair Twp., Trustee John Snyder said, “I feel real good about it.”

The approval of both levies will allow the township’s fire department to “continue on for five more years, I hope,” he said. “They were both renewals. One was basically our fire department, and one was our life squad.”

“It will fund those two units, as far as equipment and staff, and let us continue on,” he said. “I think people value the services that are provided by our first responders, and they want to keep that service.”

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