Trustees: Liberty Township Fire needs a cash injection

Posted at 11:30 PM, Oct 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-30 23:57:08-04

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- The fire department in Greater Cincinnati's smallest township processes about 2,800 calls each year but maintains the same staffing levels it had in 2010, Chief Ethan Klussman said Monday night.

"Our runs continue to increase just because of the popularity of this area," he said.

That's why taxpayers are being asked to dig into their pockets and support a new levy funding emergency services. If the levy passes, property owners will pay a $120 tax for every $100,000 their property is worth.

Tom Farrell, vice president of the township's board of trustees, acknowledged the prospect of paying more for any city service isn't an appealing one. However, he said, it's necessary to keep the township's population safe.

"For 18 months, we looked at all other options," he said. "None of us want to pay more taxes, (but) the current money that's in the fire department allows us to run through 2018. Then, we will be in the red."

Mary Elliot, who attended Monday night's township meeting, said she wasn't convinced. According to her, voters have passed previous levies that still haven't accomplished what they promised to do, like provide busing for the township's high schoolers.

Without a financial windfall of some kind, however, Klussman and Farrell both made it clear the fire department won't be able to continue.

"As we get bigger and our run volume increases, the need to add personnel in the future will be there," he said.

Taxpayers will vote on the levy Nov. 7.