Fire department levy is Issue 25 on ballot
- Published: October 6, 2022
A 3.5-mill operations levy for Miami Township Fire-Rescue, or MTFR, is officially on the ballot for the Nov. 8, 2022 election as Issue 25. The ballot addition was announced at the Monday, Sept. 19 meeting of the Miami Township Board of Trustees.
The trustees declared an intention of placing a levy on the ballot in June to help cover growing personnel costs. If Issue 25 is approved by voters, the levy will generate about $670,000 per year for Miami Township Fire-Rescue; it will cost taxpayers $122.50 for every $100,000 of appraised property value. A 2018 population estimate from census.gov places Miami Township at around 5,000 residents.
According to MTFR staff, emergency services calls have increased dramatically since MTFR’s last 3.8-mill operations levy was introduced and passed 25 years ago; that levy was renewed in 2020.
Though MTFR does have five volunteers currently working, it relies mostly on full- and part-time paid staff to provide emergency services to the village and township.
EMTs are paid $12.50–$14 per hour, depending on role; and paramedics and firefighters are paid $19.50–$22.50 per hour. Full-time staff work 24-hour shifts with 48 hours off, and part-time staff work either 12- or 24-hour shifts on a six-day rotation.
Chief Colin Altman reported that Georgia Goad and Justin Turner, members of the Miami Township Firefighters’ Association, have agreed to act as co-chairs for MTFR’s levy committee.
He added that the committee is currently working to produce yard signs in support of the levy and to contact past MTFR levy supporters about the possibility of serving on the committee.
The committee has also established a website at mtfrlevy.org.
If Issue 25 passes, collection of the 3.5-mill levy will begin in January 2023. The revenue from the levy would be collected concurrently with the 3.8 -mill levy that was renewed in 2020.
To view Nov. 8 ballots by precinct, go online to bit.ly/3UKA8bW.
Since the last meeting of the trustees on Wednesday, Sept. 7, MTFR recorded 35 EMS incidents, with three of those in Bath Township; and eight fire incidents, with two in Bath Township.
Altman reported that he and Assistant Chief Denny Powell will be meeting with a billing representative to tally MTFR’s billing records for its ambulance services. Altman stated that, while MTFR’s current EMS services rates are “right in line” with other municipalities, the Township collects an average of $331 per response — a higher amount than the average due to the need for more extensive services on many emergency runs.
Since 2008, MTFR has billed all patients for ambulance runs; Altman said that the Township’s collection rate for billed ambulance services is around 97%, and that an “amazing amount” of those billed are insured.
Altman also presented a resolution to appoint Jackie Anderson as a volunteer for MTFR. Anderson is a certified EMT currently working with Clinton-Warren Joint Fire District in Clinton County. Trustees unanimously approved the resolution.
In other Sept. 19 Township business:
• Trustee Don Hollister presented some revisions to a draft of a policy that is currently being created for the use of the fire station’s community meeting room by local groups. The draft includes the addition of a $25 deposit for the use of a key card, as well as a $25 clean-up deposit if food is served, which is currently only allowed in the hallway outside the room.
• Trustee Chris Mucher reported satisfaction with headstone restoration work that was completed at Glen Forest Cemetery earlier this month over the course of a week. Work included repairing broken or fallen headstones and headstone cleaning.
“[The restoration team] did an awful lot of work this week,” he said. “I don’t think there’s enough work to bring them back again [soon]. … They do a wonderful job.”
When asked by Trustee Marilan Moir whether or not the Township is responsible for the upkeep of headstones, Mucher replied that it is not — but that “we do it because we want our cemeteries to look nice.”
• Fiscal Officer Margaret Silliman reported a recent discovery that she is not required by the Ohio Revised Code to attend every meeting of the Board of Trustees and is only required to attend one meeting per quarter.
According to ohiotownships.org, a township’s fiscal officer is “responsible for keeping accurate records of all accounts, transactions and proceedings of the township.” In addition to these official duties, Silliman said she has been attending the bi-monthly meetings and recording minutes for “more than 20 years.” In light of the mandated requirements, she asked that she be relieved of taking meeting minutes.
The trustees acknowledged that the choice is up to Silliman about whether or not she continues to perform duties outside of the requirements of her job.
“Not having you at the meeting, you would sort of be out of the loop,” Hollister said. “But the work of doing the minutes is definitely a significant task.”
Silliman maintained that continuing her required duties would keep her abreast of the Township’s fiscal situation, and that stepping back from recording minutes shouldn’t affect her performance as fiscal officer.
“I can’t just up and quit … it’s just something for you to consider,” she said.
The next meeting of the Miami Township Board of Trustees will be held Monday, Oct. 3, 5 p.m., in the MTFR community meeting room. To view the Sept. 19 meeting in full on YouTube, visit youtu.be/3Exc3hg6RDI.