WEST CARROLLTON, Ohio (WDTN) – West Carrollton is asking voters to approve a 3.9-mill levy next month for its fire and EMS department.
This is the first levy ever to appear on the ballot for the West Carrollton Fire Department, according to Chief Chris Barnett.
If voters approve the measure in March, the money will be used to create four new full-time positions, Barnett said.
Fire stations and equipment are placed out of service temporarily, or on “brownouts,” about 1,600 hours per year on average in West Carrollton, Barnett said.
With a staff of mostly part-time firefighters and paramedics – and a shortage of those employees – Chief Barnett told 2 NEWS he is hoping to change that.
“If that station or piece of equipment like an ambulance or an engine isn’t in service, the time it takes for us to get to your emergency could double,” Barnett said.
The 3.9-mill renewable levy would last five years and generate about $672,000 per year, Chief Barnett said.
The levy would cost taxpayers about $136 annually per $100,000 in appraised property value, he added.
“The area fire departments hiring, they’re hiring a lot of full-time personnel, and so the people that we train typically end up leaving within a year, year and a half,” Barnett said.
“Given the amount of part-time people has decreased by about half, and regional cities are hiring full-time, we need to be able…to hire those full-time so we can retain them,” said Heidi Van Antwerp, West Carrollton public relations director.
Since 2016, the department has also been working to promote more of its part-time firefighters to full-time, and the levy would allow those full-time positions to remain, Chief Barnett explained.
“This is going to significantly reduce that potential for not having enough people to staff the apparatus,” he said.
Two public meetings are planned to take residents’ questions about the levy:
- February 24 at 6:30 p.m. – West Carrollton Nazarene Church
- March 3 at 7 p.m. – West Carrollton branch library