Voters in St. Clair Twp. will only need to decide one tax levy this November after officials withdrew a second one earlier this year.
The Journal-News asked the township about three things voters should know about this 0.5-mill fire levy renewal request. To learn more about the issues and candidates on the ballot this November, check out the Journal-News’ online Voters Guide at vote.Journal-News.com.
What is being asked?
St. Clair Twp. is asking for a 0.5-mill fire levy renewal for another five years.
The ballot language is a change from previous renewals as it is referenced as the St Clair Twp. ‘Fire District’ levy instead of the fire department levy.
The change in language is because the 0.5-mill levy is not run township-wide but only in the unincorporated areas of St. Clair Twp., said township solicitor Gary Sheets. The municipal corporations of the township — New Miami, Seven Mile, Hamilton and Trenton — have their own fire departments, he said.
This renewal levy has been approved by voters since it was first on the ballot since it was first approved by voters in 1983. The Butler County Auditor has estimated the levy will generate $50,026 in 2017.
The levy will not raise taxes. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $13.37 per year.
What will be done with the money?
Revenue from the renewal levy will help buy vehicle fuel, bunker gear for firefighters, and replacement or updated equipment (such as the jaws of life). It will also help maintain the department’s current fleet of fire trucks and provide training opportunities.
The fire department has 25 volunteer firefighters, including the chief. The St. Clair Twp. Fire Department does not have any full-time or part-time personnel. The department averages 200 runs a year.
Why should they vote for the levy?
The Township Fire Department has been a good trustee of the taxpayer dollars it has been entrusted with because it has maintained or improved the level of service it provides while doing so with an ever-shrinking budget, Sheets said.
The department uses limited township resources to provide the local matching share for larger grants it applies for from the Hamilton Community Foundation, the state of Ohio, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other federal agencies.
“Thus, the fire department can sometimes turn $1 into $10 in the form of a grant,” Sheets said.