Middletown fire officials have said it’s one thing for them to talk about the needs of the city’s four stations, but it’s more impactful if residents see first-hand the needs.
So the fire department is hosting open houses at its four fire station from 2 to 4 p.m. March 27 in hopes of educating residents on the importance of the upcoming primary election, scheduled for May 3. Late last year, City Council unanimously approved placing a 1-mill property tax levy that would generate $16.8 million and be used to build four fire stations.
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 Jim Palenick, then city manager. Palenick and the city recently signed a separation agreement and Fire Chief Paul Lolli has been named acting city manager while the city begins its search for Palenick’s replacement.
The levy would replace the previously-enacted 1-mill levy established to fund debt service for the Central Connections Senior Center that expired in 2021.
If Middletown residents reject the levy, city officials have 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.
Earlier, Lolli said the open houses will give residents an opportunity to see “first-hand some of the conditions our guys are working and living under.”
Here is how the bond issue will read on the upcoming primary election 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
HOW TO GO
WHAT: Open house of Middletown’s four fire stations
WHEN: 2-4 p.m. March 27
WHERE: Fire headquarters: 2300 Roosevelt Blvd; Fire stations: 307 N. Clinton, 3765 S. Dixie Highway and 4310 Central Ave.
HOW MUCH: Free and open to the public