SPRING VALLEY TOWNSHIP — Spring Valley Township is asking voters to renew an 2-mill existing levy for the fire department and approve an additional mill to help add staff on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
If it passes, Issue 18 will generate an additional $83,000 annually and will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $30.63 annually for five years. The current levy generates around $105,000 annually and costs the same homeowner $37.10 annually.
The additional money will help the fire department add firefighters.
“Our biggest goal right now is to increase our staffing,” Chief Rusty Cross said. “Trying to get staffing in here so we have staffing 24 hours a day, it takes quite a bit of money.”
Cross said the department’s current budget is $278,000 a year and in March it will increase to $359,000. To add two individuals costs $500,000 a year and the increase will help the department inch closer to that.
“Instead of jumping the gun and going crazy with levies, we’re just trying to increase it gradually to make it easier on the community, try to educate the community about what we’re trying to do and just try to get more staffing 24 hours a day,” Cross said.
The department has daytime staff seven days a week, which is new this year. At night there are paid on-call firefighters, but it’s hard to get and keep them, Cross said.
“Those (are) little steps that we’re taking toward that 24-hour staff,” Cross said. “Trying to do what we think is best.”
If the levy fails, not only will the department not be able to add staff, but it will also lose about 25 percent of its budget because it would lose the 2 mills that are up for renewal.
“It would definitely cause us to decrease our current staffing levels down,” Cross said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.