New Jasper Twp. asking residents to approve fire, EMS levies

New Jasper Twp. Fire Department

New Jasper Twp. officials are asking residents to approve two separate levies ― a renewal and an additional ― in November that are a combined 6.5 mills.

The township in Greene County is seeking the tax increase so that fire department can keep up with the increasing fire and EMS demands and shortage in volunteer firefighters, Fire Chief Doug McDaniel said, as well as maintain current operations.

The first levy is a five-year, 4.5-mill renewal that costs the owner of a $100,000 home $136.76 per year and generates $301,000 annually. The additional 2-mill property tax is also for five years, and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $70 annually if approved. It would expected to generate $141,000 per year if it passes.

ExploreToday is the last day to register to vote in Ohio’s Nov. 3 election: What to know

The township has seen a 40% jump in the number of calls the New Jasper Twp. Fire Department responded to, McDaniel said. It handled 284 calls in 2016, and that jumped to more than 400 in 2019, he said, noting that the department is on track to surpass 400 calls again this year.

So the township is seeking the additional funding to keep up with those calls, and ensure response times are short during emergencies, Trustee Lisa Townsend said.

“If you’re having a heart attack, do you want your response time to be five minutes or do you want it to be a half hour?” she asked. “We’ve been doing an excellent job and taking care of the people in our community. We’re on top of the game, but we need finances to continue that.”

The renewal levy would be used for daily operations, maintenance, equipment, salaries and the like if it passes, McDaniel said.

McDaniel and another firefighter are the department’s only full-timers. Six part-timers and 12 volunteers make up the rest of the department’s staff. Currently, the paid staff works 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Sunday, and the volunteers cover the overnight shifts, McDaniel said.

ExploreHow to make sure your vote counts: Don’t delay, follow instructions

In addition to the higher demand for service, the sagging economy combined with state mandates that include additional training and certifications are making it more difficult to find volunteer firefighters, McDaniel said. As a result, the department plans to use the funds generated from the property tax increase if it passes to hire up to six part-time firefighters and go to 24-hour shifts on the weekend, he said.

Part of the money also would be used to build sleeping quarters for the additional firefighters, he added.

Although these are tough economic times, Townsend said New Jasper Twp. residents have been supportive of the fire department. So she’s confident that they’ll approve both levies.

“We seem to have concerned citizens, and they’re educated enough to know what we need,” she said. “They’ve been very supportive in many, many ways. It’s been a great community, and we take good care of them and they take good care of us.”

Every local race, every local issue

The Dayton Daily News is the only place for complete local election coverage.

In Other News