Bellbrook passes two levies

By Anna Bolton -

BELLBROOK — Voters said yes to two Bellbrook levies at the polls May 8.

According to unofficial final results from the Greene County Board of Elections, an additional 1.75 mill fire and EMS fund levy passed 892-629 during the primary election and an additional 10-year .6 mill levy for the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Park District passed 1,790-1,253.

The fire levy will provide funding for fire and emergency medical services, allowing for the hiring of one additional full-time firefighter/paramedic and an increase in the number of scheduled part-time hours.

For the owner of a $100,000 home, the levy will cost approximately $61.25 per year or $5.10 per month. The levy is for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2018.

“Essentially this is allowing us to … make more consistent staffing numbers,” Fire Chief Jim Neidhard said prior to the election. “They fluctuate up and down quite a bit because of lack of part-time fire fighters.”

The fire department will have authorized staffing of two full-time firefighter/paramedics and two part-time firefighter/EMTs on a 24-hour per day basis, according to the city’s website.

“The Bellbrook Fire Department has not received increased property taxes since 2009. In fact, fire department revenue in 2017 is only $30,000 more than it was in 2010 — a 3 percent increase over a seven year period,” the website states.

“This allows us to continue the same level of safety service that the community expects,” Neidhard said.

The parks levy will begin in 2018 and cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $1.75 per month or $21 per year.

Officials said the levy will provide necessary funding for operating and capital expenditures — including the improvement and operation of nature reserves; athletic complexes and facilities; the conservation of lands and natural resources; public recreation programs; various school and public educational programs; historic preservation of existing and future sites; wildlife education; protection of area river and wetland corridors; and maintenance of all existing and future park facilities.

Sugarcreek Township experienced the second-largest amount of residential county growth in 2017 behind Beavercreek Township, according to construction valuations from the Greene County Department of Development. Executive Director Jeff Stewart reported a 350 percent increase in acres managed by the park district in the last five years.

“It’s a great thing but it puts added pressures on the services we provide also,” Stewart previously said. “As a park district, one of the very important tenants of our mission is to preserve land where we can before it is all built out. And when we have resources to acquire land, we like to be able to do that.”

The park district is its own entity and does not receive funds from the city or the township.

“We’re no different than some of the other agencies, experiencing some cuts from state funding and local government funds,” Stewart said. “So we’ve seen a little bit of reduction.”

He said the dollars would help with maintenance, development of property, replacing play structures, matching grant dollars to acquire land, and partnering with schools and libraries.

By Anna Bolton

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498 or follow @annadbolton on Facebook.