DARKE COUNTY — In addition to state and countywide ballot issues, the residents of many villages and townships in Darke County will be asked to vote on levy measures in support of fire and rescue services this November 7.
The New Madison Volunteer Fire Company is asking for voters in the Village of New Madison, Harrison and Butler Townships and part of Neave Township to pass a new, five-year, 1-mill levy for fire protection.
In a recent story by Daily Advocate reporter Carolyn Harmon, New Madison Volunteer Fire Company President, Assistant Chief and Captain, Randy Mikesell said the company has not asked for an increase in 17 years.
The village currently has a .75 mill levy for fire protection passed by voters in 2000. The same levy was renewed in 2005, without any increase, and has been renewed yearly since then. The additional 1-mill levy amounts to an additional 10 cents for each $100 of property valuation, or $1 per $1,000.
“We are now in a shortfall by around 40 percent,” Mikesell explained. “The increased day-to-day costs of fuel, insurance, electricity, and equipment have drastically impacted the ability to put money in the fund, for covering future large expenses. We apply for every grant we can get, but once we get a grant, we can’t go back for that same item.”
None of the funds collected by the levy will go toward salaries, according to the department, but will go toward replacement of existing equipment and potentially the purchase of a new fire engine.
Other fire and EMS departments in the county are facing similar difficulties and are asking voters for help.
Liberty Township, which includes the Village of Palestine, is seeking renewal of a 3-mill levy for fire protection.
Wayne Township, which includes Versailles, has a proposed 0.5-mill tax ambulance/fire levy on the ballot.
Voters in Richland Township are being asked to consider replacement of a 0.5-mill fire protection levy with a proposed 1-mill levy.
Franklin Township is seeking an additional 0.7-mill levy for fire equipment.
To see the issues and candidates on the ballot for your location, go online to www.electionsonthe.net/oh/darke/ click on the “Election Info” link, then the “Ballots” link.
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