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That’s prompted an average of 1,653 service brownout hours – equal to nearly 69 days — annually in recent years, Fire Chief Chris Barnett said. Most of those brownouts have involved medic units, but they have also included entire stations, city records show.
“There’s this push for full-time positions throughout the region,” he said. “It just seems like it’s a never-ending cycle” to replace part-time crews.
Issue 5 is a 3.9-mill, five-year issue that would increase the taxes for owners of homes valued at $100,000 to about $136 a year, according to the city.
The levy is expected to generate about $672,000 per year to hire the full-time firefighters and retain the full-time staff hired last year, Barnett said.
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It would also provide competitive wages for part-time staff and improve the educational assistance they get, helping West Carrollton to “set ourselves apart” from other jurisdictions, he said.
In 2016, West Carrollton’s Fire Department had about 45 part-time and seven full-time staff, Barnett said. The number of part-time staff dropped to 35 and 25 in the following two years, respectively, before dipping to 22 in 2019, he said.
Issue 5’s approval will mean brownouts at Stations 56 and 57 “will be significantly reduced” and response times – which may double without the levy – should return to normal levels, Barnett said.
“If some in my family has an emergency and needs a paramedic,” West Carrollton City Councilman Harold Robinson said, “I don’t want them to take twice as long to get there as they used to take.”
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Few people favor tax hikes, he said, “but you become interested in that when you really look seriously at the facts.”
Barnett has said several factors have played a role in West Carrollton’s situation. They include the regional hiring of full-time firefighters, the rising cost of obtaining certifications, a drop in interest in public service and a decline in available part-time candidates.
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Voters who want to get their ballots in before primary Election Day on March 17 can vote absentee by mail or in person at their county board of elections offices.
The deadline to request absentee mail ballots is three days before the election, or March 14. Absentee ballots must be signed. Absentee ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by the day before the election to be counted, or they can be returned in-person at the county board of elections before polls close at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. (Do not take the ballot to a polling place.)
Early voting hours are the same in all counties:
‒ 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays through March 6
‒ 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 7
‒ 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday, March 9, to Friday, March 13
‒ 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 14
‒ 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 15
‒ 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, March 16