NEW JASPER TOWNSHIP — New Jasper Township has an additional 2-mill fire and EMS levy on the ballot.
If voters approve it, the new levy would maintain current part-time staffing for Monday through Friday at the New Jasper Township Fire Department, and expand weekend staffing to 24 hours. Funds generated from the levy would also allow for the renovation of the fire station to create sleeping quarters for the 24-hour shifts, and pay wages for those shifts.
Currently, Fire Chief Doug McDaniel and one other person are the only two full-time firefighters/EMTs at the department, with about five or six who work part-time.
McDaniel said he’s seen a 40 percent increase in calls from 2016 to 2019. In 2019, the department responded to 402 calls — 270 EMS and 123 fire. In 2016, the department responded to 247 calls — 153 EMS and 94 fire.
The demand for services plus the challenge of keeping the department staffed on the weekends puts the department in a tough spot.
“We just don’t have the people wanting to volunteer anymore,” McDaniel said. “Both parents in the family have to work to make an income, or have children who have sports on the weekend, and just no time to do it. The state puts continual education on certifications and it’s hard to keep up [with that] plus keep a full-time job.”
The 2-mill levy would generate $141,000 annually, costing a homeowner of a $100,000 house $70 per year. Broken down, that equates to $.19 per day, $1.34 per week or $5.83 per month.
The township’s fire department covers nearly 23 square miles, 50.25 road miles, 75 percent of Shawnee Hills Lake, and a population of 2,700.
“It just comes down to whether you want help in 5 minutes or wait 20 minutes,” McDaniel said.
New Jasper Township voters will also see a 4.5-mill fire/EMS renewal levy on the ballot. Property owners are currently paying $136.75 per year based on a $100,000 market value.
Call 937-502-4498 or follow Anna Bolton, Reporter on Facebook.