UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute and the Illinois Fire Service Institute conducted research during live fires at abandoned homes this week at homes in Beavercreek Twp. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

New fire tax discussed for November ballot in Beavercreek

A new tax to fund operating costs and capital expenditures for Beavercreek Twp.’s fire department may be brought to voters in November.

Fire Chief David VandenBos is recommending one new continuing levy that would fund a new fire station at Fairground and Trebein roads as well as cover personnel and other operating costs until 2030.

Trustees have asked for detailed numbers on three potential proposals ranging from 3.125 to 3.5 mills, which would lead to additional annual revenue of more than $5.2 million, according to estimates provided by the Greene County Auditor’s Office.

Tax tool gives Greene voters glimpse at levy impact

VandenBos said without new revenue, the department will be operating at a deficit by 2022.

“What we know historically from 1946 to now is that the fire department will have more services that are requested,” VandenBos said. “Our service needs are going to grow.”

Even though there’s enough cash carryover to cover current operating costs for the next couple years, Trustee Tom Kretz said delaying the request for new tax revenue is not wise.

“We need to do this now in advance of an emergency,” Kretz said. “We don’t want to be in a position where we waited until the last minute and all of a sudden it becomes an emergent issue from a financial standpoint.”

The township is looking to build two new fire stations at a total cost of $12 million. The first — Station 65 — would be installed on township-owned land at Fairground and Trebein roads to better serve the northeastern portion of the township, where new housing developments are bringing in new residents and increased calls for service for the fire department.

Township Administrator Alex Zaharieff said the original plan was to build Station 65 within the current 10-year plan, but bids from contractors were much higher than anticipated.

Zaharieff said bids came in high this year in-part because there’s a labor shortage and contractors already have plenty of work to do.

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Other levy options are on the table, including separating operating and capital costs into two levies, a continuing tax for operating costs and a one-year tax for capital improvements, including the new fire station.

Township officials are expected to settle on one proposal and get the millage certified by the auditor’s office in June. A vote to place the issue on the November ballot would happen in July.

Voters in the city of Beavercreek have four taxes to consider this May. Voters will be asked to approve two school levies — a new 6.15-mill operating levy and a renewal on a permanent improvement levy — as well as renewing taxes to support parks and recreation and street maintenance.

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