SPRING VALLEY TOWNSHIP — Spring Valley village and township voters approved an existing levy and an additional mill to help the fire department Nov. 6.
According to unofficial results from the Greene County Board of Elections, Issue 18 passed, 846-493. With the passage, the fire department will receive approximately $188,000 annually from property taxes to increase staff. The existing 2-mill levy generated $105,000 annually and the township sought the additional mill to add firefighters, according to Chief Rusty Cross.
The owner of a $100,000 home will pay an additional $30.63 annually for five years.
The ultimate goal, Cross said, is to have staffing around the clock.
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 previously 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.”
Had the levy failed, not only would the department not have been able to add staff, but it would have also lost about 25 percent of its budget because it would lose the 2 mills that were up for renewal.
“It would definitely cause us to decrease our current staffing levels down,” Cross said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.