Anderson Twp. pushes for passage of a levy that would bolster fire, EMS and law enforcement services

Officials say previous hike has run its course
Anderson Twp. pushes for passage of a levy that would bolster fire, EMS and law enforcement services
Posted at 7:00 AM, Nov 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-02 07:00:07-04

ANDERSON TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Whether or not safety services will remain at the same level in Anderson Township could depend on how voters cast their ballot Nov. 8.

The last levy increase for safety services has stretched three years beyond its useful life, and Fire Chief Mark Ober said it's hard to know what its chances are on Election Day.

"It depends on what kind of mood (voters) are in," he said.

The 3.55-mill levy would mean that a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 house pays an extra $10.35 per month, according to the township website.

Ober said levy committee members are working to educate voters, but he's concerned that a lot of people aren't aware of the levy on the ballot -- which may be true. Several shoppers in the Kroger parking lot Sunday were unaware of the ballot issue and did not wish to be named.

The levy would cover fire, EMS and law enforcement operating costs if it passes.

Ober said the township has 65 career fire and EMS personnel, and "we are all paramedics."

They make an average of 5,000 calls per year, he said, and so far in 2016, they've made 3,870 calls. Anderson has a contract with the village of Newtown to cover fire and EMS services as well.

Anderson doesn't have its own police department, but has a contract with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for services, Ober said. Twenty-five officers are assigned to Anderson.

The levy would also pay for uniforms, firefighting gear, medical supples and maintenance, according to the township's website.

Other equipment, such as cars and fire trucks, are paid for through tax increment funds.

Township administrator Vicky Earhart has previously said that the township needed more funding because the state had taken away sources of income in 2011 for townships, mostly notably the inheritance tax. Estate taxes had been averaging about $1.7 million yearly in Anderson at the time.

This year, the township expects to end with $11.5 million in the general budget. By 2020, they predict $1.9 million at the close of the year.

If the levy does not pass, Ober said they would continue operating as they do now, but it could return to the ballot as early as next spring.