By Melody Vallieu
Editor, Miami Valley Today
NEWTON TOWNSHIP — The Pleasant Hill-Newton Township Joint Fire District will ask residents to approve an additional 4.89-mills, continuing property tax on the Nov. 5 ballot.
EMS chief Adam Marchal said 63 percent of the millage would go toward EMS staffing and equipment, while the other 37 percent would be used to pay the bond for a new building to be built within the village.
Marchal said paid part-time EMS staffing was initiated by the department in August 2015, and they were the last volunteer department in the county to begin paid EMS staffing. Marchal said while there has been a 40 percent reduction in available volunteers since 2016, the department responded to 304 different calls in 2018, up 14 percent from 2017. The paid staffing also has cut the department’s response time down by 7-8 minutes, which Marchal said “could be a matter of life or death in some cases.”
“The biggest portion of the levy is to continue EMS staffing and evolve into 24/7 staffing,” Marchal said.
He said there are currently 20 EMS staff members, of which 15 are cross trained in EMS and fire.
Some of the current EMS equipment is also outdated, with a 1994 ambulance that’s replacement is “well overdue.”
Marchal cited that they have worked to secure more than $100,000 in grants over the last three years to also help with equipment purchases.
Marchal said the current firehouse was constructed in the 1950s and has two fire bays and EMS stations that offer limited garage door height and parking spaces. He said there is only one bathroom/locker room to be shared by males and females, no sleeping or living quarters, no meeting or training rooms, limited office space and no “standby power.”
The new location would be ADA compliant and provide a facility that is suitable and safe, but conservative, Marchal said.
“I hope voters will come out in support of the levy so that the fire department and EMS can continue to provide the important services residents have come to expect and appreciate,” Marchal said.
The levy would commence in 2019 and would be first due in 2020 if approved.
Other fire and EMS levies on the Nov. 5 ballot include:
• Newberry Township — Additional 3.5-mills, five years for fire protection and ambulance, paramedic or other emergency medical services; Commencing 2020, first due 2021.
• Village of Casstown — Renewal of 1.65-mills, five-year property tax for fire protection services; Commencing 2020, first due 2021.
• Village of Fletcher — Renewal of 1-mill, four-year property tax for ambulance services; Commencing 2020, first due 2021.
• Lostcreek Township — Renewal of 1-mill, five-year property tax for emergency and ambulance services; Commencing 2019, first due 2020.
• Lostcreek Township — Renewal of 1.5-mills, five-year property tax for fire fighting facilities; Commencing 2020, first due 2021.
• Staunton Township — Renewal of 4-mills, five-year property tax for the provision of fire fighting services and ambulance, paramedic or other emergency medical services; Commencing 2020, first due 2021.