Kent Hall, Madison Twp.’s fire chief said he understands certain residents can’t afford additional taxes.
But he also realizes the importance of funding emergency services.
Hall said the township’s fire department needs to replace its aging fire stations and equipment and fund the growing number of firefighters due to dwindling volunteer firefighters.
Voters will decide on May 3 whether to support a 3-mill, five-year levy that will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $100 more a year, he said. The levy would generate about $850,000 a year, Hall said.
If the levy fails, the township will have cut personnel from its emergency services. Relying on volunteers, Hall said, is not “doable in today’s world.”
He said the township used to be served by 55 to 60 volunteer firefighters, but that number has dropped to 40 to 45 and that include part-time EMS.
“It comes down to more staffing around the clock and faster response times for medical and fire-related calls,” he said.
Even if it reduces its staff, the aging buildings will need to be replaced, according to Hall.
The township has three fire stations: Station 152 on Middletown Germantown Road was built in 1850 and is a former school house; Station 151, 4398 Elk Creek Road, was built in 1950; and the life squad at Ohio 122 and Mosiman Road was built in 1999.
The last fire levy in Madison Twp. passed in 2010 and before that it was 1979, he said.
It’s difficult to retain newly hired employees with the department having outdated facilities and apparatus, he said. Middletown is asking residents to pass a 1-mill property tax that would generate $16.8 million to build four fire stations.
Madison Twp. leaders have expressed concern about residents facing two levies — schools and fire — the same year, but Hall said the fire department needs the funds now.
“We can’t sit back and wait for the school levy to pass,” he said.
HOW TO GO
WHAT: Levy informational meeting
WHEN: 6 p.m. April 21
WHERE: Poasttown Fire Station, 6415 Middletown Germantown Road
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