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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: How will the 2.9-mill levy influence emergency response differently compared to 2020?

There will be an opportunity on the November ballot for township residents served by the East Wayne Fire Department to approve raising $125,000 and approve the township trustees to contract for emergency response services. This new levy is nearly triple the levy that expired last year. I read with interest Dan Blosser’s recent letter that urged the EWFD Board and the EWFD Chief explain how Fire/EMS services will improve if residents approve this new tax levy. Dan and I have been acquainted for a very long time and I hope he can persuade our emergency response leadership to address this issue.

In a letter last month, I raised a number of questions for residents to ask the East Wayne Board. There has not been a public acknowledgment of these issues yet, or if so, I am unaware of it, so I am going to continue urging residents to ask these questions:
Township residents need to know when the EWFD Board President said funds would “be used to staff the fire station several hours each day” whether he was talking about the Dalton station or the Marshallville station. Township residents should ask the EWFD Board and Fire Chief how they plan to staff the fire station in Dalton with these new levy funds. How will this differ compared to staffing in 2019 and 2020?

I’m certain Marshallville residents will want to have some staffing at the Marshallville fire station, so how does the EWFD Board and Fire Chief plan to staff both stations to protect residents across these two response areas? In a way, I empathize with the position these leaders are in because they have to report to multiple constituencies and I’m reminded of the wisdom: “No one can serve two masters; either you will hate the one and love the other or else you will hold to the one and despise the other.” So what’s it gonna be: Dalton or Marshallville? How will services improve in these areas?

Township residents should ask the EWFD Board and Fire Chief whether staffing in 2021 will be more than or less than staffing in 2019 and 2020. Will there be more funds available for paid staffing if the levy passes compared to prior years?

Township residents should ask the EWFD Board if they plan to continue paying the Fire Chief $40-45,000/year. Is the Fire Chief a full-time paid position?

This 2.9-mill levy raises $125,000 each year from township residents—that’s nearly triple the amount raised by the 1-mill levy approved back in 2016. Plus, another $126,000 from Village residents. That amount of money raises a lot of questions and I think all residents need to know how services will improve if we are paying higher taxes. I hope we can all learn more from the EWFD Board how our tax revenue will influence emergency service responses in the township and I hope the answers to these questions are satisfactory.

Scott Widmer,
Sugar Creek Township trustee

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