Wednesday, April 11, 2018 (Brookville Star) - Factors play into need for fire levy - 1st in a three part series)

(by Jeff Requarth, Clay Township Trustee)


CLAY TOWNSHIP - The Clay Township Fire and EMS Levy that will be on the ballot May 8 seems to bring confusion to those residents that live in the incorporated portions of Clay Township.

Those portions include the city of Brookville as well as the villages of Verona and Phillipsburg.

Clay Township is involved in the fire and emergency responses in all of those areas including the residents of the incorporated parts of the township.

To meet these requirements the Clay Township Trustees must pass levies to support these services.

The township does not have its own fire department as it contracts with Brookville, Verona and Phillipsburg. These three communities receive a split of the revenue in relation to the amount of territory covered.

One hundred percent of the revenue generated by the current levy is divided among the three communities for fire and emergency services.

The trustees, with cooperation of the fire departments, have managed your tax money in a conservative manner. The trustees have been working with the revenue generated by a levy that was last increased 11-plus years ago.

Several factors for several years have caused the expenses to out-pace revenue for these departments.

The are:
The changeover from largely volunteer fire and EMS departments to paid full- and part-time personnel. This was due to more training and time spent per state and federal requirements.
Equipment requirements and cost of protective gear for first responders.
Call volume has increased from year to year.

Another factor to be determined is the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton.

Calls will go to Miami Valley North (formerly Good Samaritan North in Englewood), which will mean shorter runs, but some EMS calls will to to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, which could as much as double on-call times.

The uncertain impact of the changing landscape of emergency facilities is yet to be determined.

In summary, Clay Township, by law, must provide fire, emergency medical and emergency responses to all citiizens of Cly Township; regardless whether they live in incorporated or un-incorporated parts of the township.

The rising costs and requirements put on the departments that the township contracts with have outpaced our current revenue stream.