CENTERBURG — Centerburg area residents will be asked to vote for a renewal levy on the Nov. 6 ballot for the Central Ohio Joint Fire District. The resolution passed in June states that the levy is needed “to continue providing efficient and effective fire protection and emergency medical services.”
“Our operating levy expired the end of 2011 and we’re now operating on the last of the levy money,” said Chief Joe Porter.
The fire district is seeking a five-year 5.5-mill renewal levy.
The renewal comes after a replacement levy failed last November and again in March.
“Last year we were trying to move forward,” Porter said “because we’re essentially operating on the same funding as 11 years ago.”
The replacement would have given the district increased revenue, but the renewal that will be on the ballot is a hope to at least continue the existing operating funds. Operating funds cover personnel wages, maintenance and service to fire trucks and ambulances, and fuel for the vehicles.
“We’ve cut back on extra crews for public events. There’s no overtime being paid for those events. We’re at the events but it’s on-duty crews. It’s helped some,” Porter added.
The fire district also has five or six volunteers with either fire or EMS training, but training is lengthy and the volunteers have paid employment so their availability is limited.
Passage of the renewal will not result in an increase to the taxpayers.
Porter said that the number of runs the department handles has tripled; most of them medical runs. Yet it still operates with one full-time and three part-time employees per shift.
“It’s critical we get this renewal passed,” Porter said.
“Given the economic times, everybody is undergoing financial change right now,” Porter stated, “but as a renewal, there is no increase to the taxpayer.”
The Joint Fire District serves the village of Centerburg, as well as, Hilliar, Liberty, and Milford townships and South Bloomfield Township in Morrow County. The station is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It is governed by a board which includes trustees from each township, a member of village council and a member of the community. Currently serving on the board are Dave Beck, Dale Pennington, Roger Hall, George Blocker, Patti Frazee and Dave Grumney.
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