Miami Twp. and Miamisburg voters are not likely this year to see a joint levy on the ballot to fund the fire district both communities share.
Miami Valley Fire District Board of Trustee leaders say too much must be decided about a shared funding mechanism to finance services in both jurisdictions.
“We’ve got an awful lot of work to do on that,” said Miamisburg City Councilman John Stalder, president of the board overseeing the fire district, which was made permanent by the city and the township last year after five years of joint operation.
“For me, it would be moving awfully fast,” he added. “If we do a levy – especially district-wide – there’s probably going to be a lot of issues with it since both (jurisdictions) are funded two different ways.”
Funding for the district between the township and the city is based on population, with the township paying about 60 percent, officials said.
The township’s portion is funded through two levies – one 3.65 mills and one 3.5 mills – that are expected to generate a total of about $4.67 million this year, records show. Miamisburg’s share is financed through its general fund and a 3-mill levy that combined should contribute about $3.8 million in 2018.
Deciding on a solution is expected to take several more months, said Miami Twp. Trustee Vice President Doug Barry, who is also vice president of the fire district board.
“We won’t be able to get to it this year,” he said. “I will never say never. But I would be extremely surprised if the fire district was able to come out with one this year. But we are studying it. That’s one of the things we are studying now. And in the not too distant future they will be going out for their own levy.”
Meanwhile, the township is moving to return to the ballot this fall a levy that expires at the end of 2018. Trustees last week approved a measure to Montgomery County to certify tax valuation for the 3.5-mill issue that ends Dec. 31.
One of the issues that needs to be addressed, Barry said, is how funding not generated by levies can be better used to pay for safety services. One of the ways funding generated by the township’s various Tax Increment Financing districts can be used in is police and fire services, he said.
“We are asking the chiefs of not only the police, but the fire department – to go through their budgets and find other things the TIF can pay for,” Barry said. “Because it would be my goal that the levy that the fire district is going to go out for is going to be for less millage than what the (current) ones are now.”
Consolidating fire services between the city and township “saved a lot of money over the last five years,” he added,
In 2012, when the fire district was approved on a five-year basis, annual expenses were at $10.83 million and have fluctuated between $8.33 million and $9.66 million since, according to records.
This year, the fire district’s operating budget shows $9.96 million in revenues and $9.62 million in expenses, about the same as 2006 operating budgets for city and township fire services combined, documents show.