We submit this for public information about concerns and information as it pertains to the upcoming communication (MARCS) levy or ISSUE 3 on the November 7 ballot.
· The Commissioners were asked to put this on the ballot by the communications committee for a vote from the county because the Commissioners are the only authority within the county to provide funds to ALL the entities throughout the county, like villages and emergency service departments.
· The funds, if the levy passed, would be held in a Permanent Improvement fund that restricts the use of these funds. The new fund that will be created within the County will be titled “Communication System Fund.” Under the Ohio Revised Code, it allows for many uses including salaries, but the Commissioners chose to limit the proceeds from the levy to equipment costs only. These funds are audited annually by the State of Ohio.
· This Levy provides necessary communications equipment to all public safety Fire, Law, and EMS. It also looks long term at the continued expense of the monthly user fee, upgrades as needed, repairs, and equipment replacement.
· The Levy is a continuing levy due to the fact that emergency communications is something that will not go away. The importance of being able to communicate whether you are on VHF, MARCS, or another form not developed yet is an important public service.
· The Commission board (no matter who is elected to the office) along with the Communication Committee will manage the communication fund, and research the financially responsible options for all parties involved.
· The Communications committee that makes recommendations how funds from the levy are spent is made up of: the chairman of the commission board, at least one fire chief representing a village or township agency, one police chief representing village agencies, one EMS chief to represent the county’s EMS, one City of Greenville public safety chief, the county sheriff or his designee, the county 911 coordinator, the county emergency management director, a member of a board of township trustees in the county, and a mayor of a village in the county.
· The language for this Levy was written by the Darke County Prosecutor’s office and found directly in the Ohio Revised Code.
· Ohio MARCS current platform is secured through 2039. The current system is at the end of the equipment’s replacement life, and the need to move to another form of communication is the driving force of the Levy request. This Levy provides the opportunity for all agencies within the county to make the change all at once, instead of over the next many years. This also benefits all entities to provide uniformity of equipment across the county to save in bulk pricing and programming when compared if each department bought this equipment separately.
Mike Stegall, Mike Rhoades, Matt Aultman
Darke County Commissioners