Voters approve Miami Valley Fire District tax levy by 58-42 ratio

Miamisburg and Miami Twp. residents approved a permanent, 11-mill property tax levy aimed at increasing revenue for the Miami Valley Fire District.

With more than 17,000 votes counted, 58% voted “yes” and 42% voted “no” for the levy, according to unofficial final results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections. Its approval means the elimination all existing fire-related tax levies in the city and township.

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“Obviously, we’re very excited,” Fire Chief Brandon Barnett told Dayton Daily News late Tuesday night. “All the firefighters worked very, very hard along with other representatives from the city and the township to move this forward. We’re very appreciative of the city of Miamisburg and Miami Twp. residents being supportive of us and now it’s our turn to show them that we’re appreciative of what they’ve done and spend their tax dollars wisely.”

Those tax dollars will increase as a result of the levy being approved.

The owner of a $100,000 property in either Miamisburg or Miami Twp. will pay $385 annually as a result of the levy. Under the funding model that has existed, Miami Twp. residents have paid an effective property tax rate of 6.44 mills for fire/EMS service annually, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home there pays $225. The new levy would cost the owner of that property about $160 more a year, according to district records.

Miamisburg residents pay an effective property tax rate of 2.33 mills for fire/EMS service annually, meaning the owner of a $100,000 home there pays $81 directly. The new levy would cost the owner of that property $304 more a year.

“The first thing we’re going to start doing is looking at our staffing to make sure that we get Station 51 opened back up,” Barnett said, making mention of the Wood Road fire house that was closed in 2019 to minimize costs in the face of fiscal challenges. “That’s a priority. It’s been a priority for a long time and without the funding, we just weren’t able to do it.”

MVFD also can use funds from the new levy to replace aging fire apparatus, including fire engines that are as much as 26 years old and ambulances that are 20 years old. It would also let the fire district replace aging fire gear.

It also will allow the district to upgrade equipment, including replacing manual cots, where EMTs must lift patients of all sizes, to an automatic cot that is battery operated.

A boost to revenues

Miami Valley Fire District, which has covered both communities for the past decade, had total revenue of nearly $10.1 million in 2021, against expenses of $10.2 million.

With the levy approved, Fire District revenues in 2023 will be $13.9 million — $12.4 million from the levy and the remaining $1.5 million coming from EMS revenues and grants. Expenses in 2023 are expected to be $12.2 million, with remaining revenue, at least for now, invested in capital improvement projects like repairing or replacing aging fire stations, officials said.

Two Miami Twp. levies that generate nearly $4 million were set to expire in 2023 and 2026. Now, both levies will be eliminated in favor of the new one.

The township also supports fire services via supplemental funding of $678,000, which is limited and will be depleted by 2023, fire district officials said.

Miami Valley Fire District receives a $2.6 million contribution each year from Miamisburg’s general fund, $1.2 million from a Miamisburg tax levy and nearly $1.6 million in EMS fees and other revenues.

Approval of the levy “essentially frees up” that $2.6 million for Miamisburg to use for other projects that it deems necessary.

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