The city of West Carrollton is asking voters to consider a Fire/Emergency Services (Fire/EMS) levy on the March 17, 2020 ballot. The 3.9 mill Fire/EMS would be a five-year renewable levy. Funds generated will be used exclusively to support the Fire Department.
The city will be holding two community information sessions open to the public. These sessions will provide information about the proposed levy and give residents an opportunity to ask questions. The dates for the sessions are:
Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. at the West Carrollton Nazarene Church, 550 S. Elm St.
Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. at the West Carrollton branch library, 300 E. Central Ave.
The city’s Fire/EMS Department has relied on several full-time and many part-time employees to fully staff both Fire Stations 56 and 57 for years. Hiring and retaining both full and part-time staff has become increasingly difficult since 2016. The part-time staff has decreased by half as people are less interested in joining the profession along with the need to seek full-time employment for those currently in their career.
While we endeavor to fully operate the stations and apparatus using the current staffing, including the use of overtime, daily emergency response levels can vary. ‘Browning out’ apparatus or temporarily closing a fire station results in a reduction in our daily firefighting and emergency response force. Brownouts occur when there are not enough firefighter/paramedics available to fully staff a given shift. There have been approximately 1600 hours per year of brownouts the last several years. Anyone seeking medical attention might be affected by a brownout which could double the response time to the emergency situation.
The levy will allow the city to stabilize its emergency response times by hiring four additional full-time firefighter/paramedics as well as increasing the incentive package for part-time positions. Salary increases and educational assistance will provide the ability to recruit, retain and stay competitive with surrounding municipalities.
“By having the ability to fully staff both stations 24/7/365 which is what we strive for every day, the likelihood of brownouts will significantly decrease,” states Fire Chief, Chris Barnett.
The levy is expected to generate about $672,000 per year. If approved, a homeowner would pay approximately 37 cents a day or $11.10 per month for every $100,000 of home value.
“We will remain conservative with taxpayer money while providing higher-quality emergency medical response and fire protection for all residents,” said Brad Townsend, city manager.