2008-10-25 / Editorials & Letters

Guest column: Fire chief explains Licking Township fire levy

By Fire Chief Mike Wilson

JACKSONTOWN - Since its creation in 1995, the Licking Township Fire Company and its volunteers have been committed to provide high quality service to township residents. Through good money management and the dedication of our volunteers, we have been able to obtain new equipment and implement new programs to improve our services. A key program has been part-time staffing to provide basic coverage during he hours when volunteer availability is at its lowest.

Over the last 13 years your fire department has sought and received:

• More than $466,000 in grants from federal, state and local agencies.

• More than $93,000 in local donations for equipment.

Most of our members are Licking Township residents with an invested interest in our community, including a commitment to keeping our taxes low. Currently, you have approved two separate one-mill levies that run for five years each. They are staggered so that they come up for replacement or renewal at different times. These levies have been and will continue to be vitally important in our daily operations of responding to your calls for help.

We understand that these are difficult times for some neighbors, but we also realize that you expect and deserve high quality service when you call for help. As your calls for service increase, we are stretching our loyal volunteers to the breaking point. In particular, demand for emergency medical services is increasing in Licking Township.

With that in mind, we are asking for your support and approval on November 4 of a new 3-mill permanent fire levy. These extra funds will be used for full-time and additional part-time staffing that means 24/7 on-station coverage at our Jacksontown fire station. We hope to have a paramedic on duty around the clock. That means, unless we are already on another call, that no matter when you call at least two trained emergency responders will be at the station ready to head your way.

Back in 2002, (when we started our part-time staffing) our yearly run total was 685, we are on pace this year to make 1100 runs. In addition, the day to day needs of the department have increased - maintenance of our equipment and station, training, state reporting and general administration.

Our current two one-mill levies (total of two mills) cost $61.25 for each $100,000 of Auditor's Market Value. The proposed three- mill permanent fire levy will cost $91.89 per every $100,000 of Auditor's Market Value.

Total cost for all levies would be $159.14 per every $100,000 of Auditor's Market Value.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please come to our next information forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October at Station #1, 6800 Phil Linn Pkwy. Jacksontown. Or call me at (740) 323-0211. Thank you for your support.

Wilson is a charter member of the fire company. He became chief in 1999 as a volunteer and became the full-time chief when that position was created in 2002.

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