Clinton Township trustees will ask voters March 17 to renew two long-standing fire levies essential to maintaining a level of fire service they believe community members have come to expect.
The five-year 0.8-mill and 0.3-mill fire levies would commence in 2021, and would annually generate an estimated $141,290 and $64,035, respectively. Both are used to purchase and maintain fire apparatus and equipment, and for related fire expenses. Both were introduced in 2005, and have successfully passed voter scrutiny at each renewal cycle.
Clinton Township Trustee Ivan Hite said in the 15 years the levies have remained active voters have never failed to approve them.
“People are very aware of the need for good equipment and they know the service the fire department is providing is excellent, and they’re willing to continue that kind of service. They understand their need to have someone there,” he said.
Hite said the township has had struggles with maintaining sufficient amounts of equipment. “We’ve got to maintain the integrity of the vehicles. We’re under a lot of regulations to keep this equipment maintained, and the cost for doing business is going up every year,” he said. “If we don’t pass these levies it really affects our capability of responding to fires. That’s why levies are needed to continue service.”
In a related issue, Hite said the department also has had difficulty maintaining volunteer firefighters.
“The entire state of Ohio is finding it harder and harder to provide fire services because of lack of volunteerism,” he said. “We have experienced the same situation in Fulton County. Right now, Fulton County is in a pretty good position for volunteers but we’re struggling to maintain a volunteer program.”
Should the fire levies fail the township would reintroduce them on the November ballot. But Hite maintains a positive attitude that voters will understand the need and approve the levies in March.
“I feel confident because they’ve been supportive for 15 years. I know they appreciate the fire department, and it’s a plus for the community,” he said.
Clinton Township first introduced a fire levy in 1991, a time when the City of Wauseon transferred all responsibility for the fire department’s apparatus to the township and charged itself with the protective equipment and personnel costs.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.