On Nov. 6, Reynoldsburg residents will be asked by the Truro Township Fire Department to approve a 3.9-mill permanent fire and emergency services levy.
The levy will generate approximately $1.8 million a year in revenue and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $10 a month or $119 a year.
Township officials are working diligently to get the word out about the importance of the levy.
Fire Chief Steve Hein said literature has been delivered to residents and there is a link on the Truro Township website, www.trurrotwp.org, which provides additional information.
“It is still too early to gauge overall reaction, Hein said.There have been various indicators from residential inquiries to residential requests for yard signs that show this levy to our residents.
Fire officials say the levy is needed to continue fast response times, staff fire stations, provide a full-time ambulance and a full-time fire engine, and make up for lost tax revenue.
Hein previously told the Eastside Messenger the township has struggled with the elimination of the personal property tax, devaluation of property taxes and cuts in local government funds. The loss in funding has resulted in a loss of $1 million a year in revenue, according to the township.
There also has been an increase in daily run volume. The Truro Township Fire Department is averaging 17 runs a day, Hein said.
“Weve also seen an increase in costs of fuel and equipment, and its always challenging to keep pace with increased technology for fire and EMS equipment, Hein said.
To offset the loss in revenue, township officials said they haveeliminated firefighter/paramedic positions, deferred buying equipment and filling vacancies, increased employee healthcare contributions and reduced employee benefits.
The last time the fire department asked for additional millage was in 2002. Since that time, Truro Township has built an additional fire station and increased the number of firefighters on duty from eight to 13. From 2002 to 2011, the fire departments yearly run totals increased from 3,781 to 6,149, an increase of 62 percent.
Hein added the levy is needed to staff a full-time paramedic on the west side of Reynoldsburg and to maintain services for the next six to eight years.
Truro Township maintains mutual aide agreements with several area fire departments including Columbus, West Licking, Jefferson Township, Violet Township, Madison Township, Mifflin Township and Whitehall. The agreements allow fire departments to receive additional help when needed.
The township also houses a Fire Prevention Bureau with three major responsibilities – fire inspections, fire investigations and fire education. The bureau is spearheaded by Lt. Mike Shirey.
In 2011 the bureau conducted 12 fire investigations, 1,000 fire safety inspections, 50 group home inspections, 10 juvenile fire setter intervention programs, seven senior citizen fire education programs, 15 fire safety house events for 5,000 children, fire extinguisher training programs for local business, and 40 fire sta tion tours and programs.
“It really teaches kids the dangers of fire setting, Shirey said.They just dont know that. They dont know the consequences.
Through the fire inspections firefighters teach residents how to change smoke detector batteries, replace aging smoke detectors and place extinguishers in an easily accessible location.
“They dont have to go running for it, Shirey said.The extinguisher wont put a big fire out.
History of Truro Township Fire Department:
The Truro Township Fire Department was established in 1937 under the direction of the townships first fire Chief, Vinton H. Raymer. In May 1938 the township broke ground for its firehouse on Main Street across from State Route 256, according to literature from the township.
In 1959, the township built its second fire station located on Brice Road in the village of Brice. The fire station was constructed, according to township officials, to provide better protection for residents living in the townships southwest corner.
In 1975, the township acquired the fire station at 6900 E. Main St., or Fire Station 161. At the time it was the largest fire station in central Ohio with 12 full-time employees.
In 2007, the township built a second fire station at the corner of Livingston Avenue and Merchants Drive. The fire station was closed in the early 1980s. The Livingston Avenue station was built to better serve residents of Brice, Qualstan and southern Reynoldsburg. Fire station 162 opened in 2007.