MIAMI COUNTY — Voters in both Bethel and Monroe townships will consider fire and emergency medical services levies on the Nov. 8 ballot.
In Bethel Township, residents are being asked to approve a replacement and increase tax levy that generates funding for the township’s fire and EMS departments.
If approved, this would increase the millage rate from the current 2 mills to 4.9 mills, Fire Chief Andy Ehrhart said.
“We’ve not had a levy increase since 1999, so we’re kind of behind the times on that,” he said. “With the cost of fire and EMS gear and equipment, and just the overall cost of protection going up, we’ve pretty much used most of our reserves and it’s now time to ask voters if they will support us in a levy.”
If approved the levy would generate $657,082. These funds cover everything from personnel expenses to new equipment.
“We’re trying to provide this service on a paycheck from 1999, which is a little difficult,” Ehrhart said. “We have a 2002 and a 2006 medic and they’re getting up there in years.”
The department predominately provides emergency medical expenses, Ehrhart said.
“We’re one of the few township fire departments in Miami County that is it’s own department. We don’t contract with anybody else. The levy money will help keep response times low and those services high,” he added.
The cost to taxpayers will amount to 49 cents for each $100 in property valuation.
In Monroe Township, voters in the unincorporated areas will decide on a 2 mill levy that combines two older 1 mill levies.
While not technically a replacement, it combines two existing fire and EMS levies, township trustee Martin English said.
The new levy would generate $273,099 annually. By combining the existing levies instead of having one just for fire and one for EMS, it will allow those funds to be divided more flexibly between the two departments, English said.
This change also means that township will come to the voters for levy approval less often, and save money by placing levies on the ballot less frequently, English explained.
This levy does not apply to residents of Tipp City.
If the Bethel levy passes, this will be the lowest fire and EMS levy in the county, English said. It would cost taxpayers 20 cents for each $100 in property valuation.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.