Clearcreek Township Officials Ask for Voters To Approve A Fire/EMS Levy
* Story was written by Clearcreek Township staff.
Clearcreek Township is asking voters to consider a 3.75 mill, continuous Fire/EMS levy in November to continue and improve the Clearcreek Fire District operations and existing facilities. We go to the ballot to ask voters to consider the levy neither capriciously or lightly. We are acutely aware that we, Clearcreek Township and Springboro citizens, are in the midst of a global pandemic and face uncertain financial conditions moving forward – but the facts we face managing our Fire and EMS services are undeniably clear.
In 2019, the cost to provide current levels of Fire and EMS services to the township and city exceeded our revenue in the Fire fund for the year by 1.25 million dollars. The expected expense over revenue for current service levels in 2020 looks similar at just over 1.4 million dollars in the red, further depleting reserves in the Fire fund to an expected 2.8 million dollar total balance by year’s end. The Fire fund will be completely exhausted by the end of 2021 at current service levels and revenues. These are the facts.
This is not an atypical situation for any property tax levy, where, eventually, the cost to provide the service will outpace the revenue generated by it, and we begin to draw down any cash reserves that were saved during the earlier years of the levy, and eventually the fund is exhausted in time. That’s where we are today, nearly 20 years after the last Fire/EMS levy was passed (2001), which, not coincidently, is the last levy passed for any service provided to our citizens by Clearcreek Township.
We hold our fiduciary responsibility to our citizens as sacrosanct when making budgetary and purchasing decisions – spending the people’s money judiciously, with caution and thoughtfulness. It is this practice that has stretched the 2001 levy, originally projected to last 10 years, to twice its expected duration. We realize, however, that to continue to provide this level of service, we must now, even in this uncertain economic climate, return to the electorate to ask if they desire us to sustain that service level.
Where we earlier mentioned the global pandemic we are all living, it brings to the forefront the question that asks if your local EMS care provider is more important now than ever. In recent weeks, we have seen an uptick in COVID-19 care and transport rendered to the community, which is concerning in light of our current financial situation. The reality is, without an ongoing source of new revenue to operate, we cannot sustain our current service model. Cuts will have to be made to live within our current revenues, and our Fire District will most certainly look very different from what it looks like today.
Should voters approve the 3.75 mill levy, Clearcreek Township pledges to continue to manage those resources in a prudent and sensible manner. The funds from this levy will additionally support much needed repairs and renovations to the existing stations, purchase of several pieces of replacement Fire/EMS apparatus, and to continue the exceptional service levels our citizens have come to justly expect and demand for their tax dollars.
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