Middletown council approves fire station levy language, parks master plan

Middletown residents will vote on a levy May 3, 2022 that would generate $16.8 million to build four fire station, including fire headquarters. Fire headquarters would move from Roosevelt Boulevard to a 3.6-acre site at Yankee Road and Cherry Street. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Middletown residents will vote on a levy May 3, 2022 that would generate $16.8 million to build four fire station, including fire headquarters. Fire headquarters would move from Roosevelt Boulevard to a 3.6-acre site at Yankee Road and Cherry Street. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Voters will decide whether to fund the building of four fire stations on May 3, 2022

Middletown City Council unanimously approved two pieces of legislation that could shape citizens’ safety and recreation options during its last meeting of the year.

Council approved placing a 1-mill property tax levy that would generate $16.8 million and be used to build four fire stations and the city’s Parks Master Plan.

The $16.8 million is the cost of designing, furnishing, and constructing the four facilities that would replace the “inadequate and obsolete” existing stations, said City Manager Jim Palenick.

Middletown voters will decide whether the issue passes or fails on May 3, 2022.

The levy would replace the previously-enacted 1-mill levy established to fund debt service for the Central Connections Senior Center that is expiring this year, the city manager said.

If Middletown residents reject the levy, Palenick said the city could place an income tax increase that would require a 1/8th of 1% increase for at least 15 years; cut the general fund budget by more than $800,000 a year by reducing the number of public safety employees; build one fire station every five or six years that would about double the final cumulative tally of costs; or don’t replace the fire stations.

The Middletown Division of Fire has hosted an open houses at the city’s four fire stations so residents can see “first-hand some of the conditions our guys are working and living under,” said fire Chief Paul Lolli. There will be another open house in March 2022, he said.

The purpose of the Parks Master Plan is to assist the city and park board in establishing “clear and realistic goals, objectives and implementation strategies” for the next 10 years to best meet the current and future park and recreation needs, according of the city.

The plan categorizes recommended improvements into three categories:

  • Immediate Needs: Focus on repairing elements throughout the park system that have deteriorated over time.
  • Basic Improvements: Focus of incremental investment in new and improved facilities throughout the park system that serve the needs and desires of the community.
  • Aspirations: Build upon the existing network of incorporating some of the larger opportunities identified during the master planning process.

Council member Tal Moon said the current and future councils should make following the parks plan “a top priority.”

Council member Ami Vitori, who didn’t seek re-election, said she hopes Goldman and Mayfield parks would receive improvements so those residents who use the two parks would have similar opportunities as those at other city parks.


BALLOT LANGUAGE

Here is how the bond issue will read on the May 3, 2022 ballot for Middletown residents who live in Butler and Warren counties:

Shall bonds be issued by the City of Middletown for the purpose of constructing fire facilities; furnishing and equipping the same; improving the sites thereof; and acquiring interests in land as necessary in connection therewith in the principal amount of $16,800,000, to be repaid annually over a maximum period of 30 years, and an annual levy of property taxes be made outside the ten-mill limitation, estimated by the county auditor to average over the repayment period of the bond issue one (1.00) mills for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to $0.10 for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation, commencing in 2022, first due in calendar year 2023, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds, and to pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds?

PROPOSED FOUR FIRE STATIONS

  • New fire headquarters location replacing the 1.38-acre site on Roosevelt Boulevard: A 3.6-acre site at Yankee Road and Cherry Street owned by the city as acquired from the Middletown City Schools and former site of Garfield school. Size: 24,300 square feet. Cost: $7,168,500.
  • Station No. 81 location replacing 0.28-acre site on Clinton Street: A 2.85-acre site at Henry Avenue and Charles Street owned by the city as acquired from the Middletown City Schools and former site of the Jefferson school. Size: 10,200 square feet. Cost: $3,009,000
  • Station No. 85 location replacing 0.86-acre site at Central Avenue and Breiel Boulevard: A 2-acre parcel at Sophie Avenue and Stolz Drive encompassing the undeveloped, southern portion of Dowling Park owned by the city. Size: 10,200 square feet. Cost: $3,009,000.
  • No. 82 location replacing 0.88-acre site on Dixie Highway: A 2.7-acre site at Ohio 122 and Atrium Boulevard acquired from Premier Health/Atrium Medical Center. Size: 11,800 square feet. Cost: $3,481,000.

SOURCE: City of Middletown

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