LETTER TO EDITOR: Points to consider about township fire/EMS levies

In this General Election, there will be two levies in Sugar Creek township. Residents will be asked to vote on a “North” or “South” levy, depending on where they reside.

There will be a third (2.9 mill) East Wayne Joint Fire District levy for residents in the Villages of Dalton or Marshallville.

The “South” levy is for township residents who live in the coverage areas of the Kidron Volunteer Fire Department or the City of Orrville Fire Department. This 1.5 mill levy would raise $106,000 per year. These two fire departments run approximately 155 calls per year in the township. This is a reasonable tax levy and I strongly support this SC Twp (South) levy.

The “North” levy is for township residents who live in the East Wayne Joint Fire District coverage area. This 2.9 mill levy would raise $125,000 per year. There are approximately 106 calls per year in this area. These residents will be voting to increase their current (Fire/EMS) taxes by 190%.

Some points to consider:

1. According to EWJFD in 2019 they ran a total of 79 calls in the Village of Marshallville and 55 auto-aid calls in Chippewa Twp. This is a total of 134 calls (more than SC Twp – North) and yet Marshallville will only be taxed $28,000 per year (at 2.9 mills). This is just 22% of what SC Twp (North) residents will be taxed.

2. The Fire Station in Marshallville costs around $75,000 per year. The Village of Dalton and Sugar Creek (North) Twp resident taxes would be used to cover the cost of this Station. Why is Marshallville not asked to contribute more to just cover the expenses of the Marshallville Station?

3. Dalton Village Council approved an additional $72,000 of funding per year on top of the $126,000 for the 2.9 mill (EWJFD) levy in Dalton. Dalton residents would then be contributing $198,000 annually which represents a total millage of around 4.5 mills. Is this even compliant with Ohio Law regarding the funding of a Joint Fire District?

4. The SC Twp (North) residents are being asked to increase taxes by $82,000 a year from the current Fire / EMS tax. What additional staffing will the SC Twp (North) residents be receiving for this 190% increase in taxes?

5. In the past three-years most of the Firefighters / EMTs which had served from the Marshallville Station have gone to other Fire Departments to serve. The Village of Marshallville has lost over 100 years of Firefighting & EMT experience. This certainly has not benefitted the Village of Marshallville.

6. In 2019 the EWJFD Fire Chief was paid $45,240 which is a part-time position (and his second job). Many people in the villages or township don’t make this much at their primary full-time job. What will the EWJFD pay the Fire Chief if the new tax levies pass?

It will be up to the voters to decide what new and increased taxes they will support.

Mitch Steiner
Sugar Creek Township Resident

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