Fairborn city council places fire, police levy renewal on November ballot

Fairborn Fire Department personnel respond to a drill at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in this 2015 file photo. Six of the department’s personnel received Life Saving Award ribbons for their response to a January 2017 incident. CONTRIBUTED
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Fairborn Fire Department personnel respond to a drill at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in this 2015 file photo. Six of the department’s personnel received Life Saving Award ribbons for their response to a January 2017 incident. CONTRIBUTED

The Fairborn city council plans to ask homeowners to renew the police and fire levies in November, nearly a year after residents approved income taxes for both departments.

Each one is a five year, 4.4 mill levy that will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $129.83 annually. They will generate $2.3 million a year each for the police and fire departments. Approving the levies will not increase taxes for property owners. However, the amount each homeowner pays will likely decrease as new homes are constructed in the city, officials said.

“That’s the thing about property taxes,” City Manager Rob Anderson during the council meeting at which the ballot measure was discussed on July 6. “As you get more people involved, the effective rate goes down.”

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The renewal is a separate tax from the 2020 income tax Fairborn voters approved last March to maintain police and fire operations, which generates a combined $4.4 million for those two funds. That tax took effect on Jan. 1, and will remain in in place for the next 10 years.

Anderson said the property tax renewal was built into the projects Fairborn had when they put the income tax on the ballot.

“If the question comes up as, ‘well, we just gave you this income tax, why are we doing this now?,’ because the amount of money that it takes to fund both police and fire is significant enough that we need both sources of revenue,” Anderson said.

In general, police and fire tend to take up the largest portion of any city’s budget. According to Fairborn’s budget, the fire department is projected to spend about $7.6 million in 2021, while the police department is expected to spend about $8.3 million.

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Police and fire still would get money from the general fund, Anderson noted, as the two levies do not cover all the costs of police and fire.

Fairborn projects its 2021 operating budget to be about $54 million, which means police and fire will account for 29% of projected expenditures.

City council said they were in favor of the proposal during the presentation, with many noting that they knew this would be coming when the last levy was passed.

“No new taxes, they need the money and I totally support it,” said council member Tana Stanton.