Sunday, January 28, 2001

Deerfield Twp. plans levy for fire squad

Fast-growing area would get more staff

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — One of the fastest-growing townships in Warren County needs more money to help firefighters keep a booming population safe.

        Deerfield Township voters will be asked to approve a 4.8-mill, five-year replacement levy on May 8, Deputy Fire Chief Nathan Bromen confirmed Friday. Deputy Chief Bromen said the $3.1 million the levy would generate annually would allow the department to staff three positions at its new Kings Mills fire station and change 12 employees from part-time to full-time. Funds would also go toward the fire department's operating expenses.

        “The fire department has indicated to us a need for more money to deal with the expanding demand for services brought on by the township's tremendous growth,'' trustees President Larry Backus said. “Fire and emergency services are among the most vital services this township delivers and we need to see that the department remains adequately funded.”

        The replacement levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $147 a year, township officials said. That's a $26 increase above the current levy.

        Deerfield trustees placed a levy on the ballot in 1998 to start their fire de partment after the breakup of the Mason-Deerfield Joint Fire District.

        A little more than 91 percent of township residents approved that 3.95-mill fire levy, which generates about $2.4 million a year. Deerfield Township, one of the fastest-growing areas in the state, has seen its population jump from 15,060 in 1990 to more than 20,000 in 2001.

        The fire department's annual budget has grown from $2.1 million in 1998 to $2.4 million in 2000 to a projected $2.8 million this year.

        The department had to borrow more than $300,000 from the township's general fund last year to cover expenses not covered by the current levy.

        “We are not looking for ways to increase taxes, but we also don't want to inhibit other township programs by having to draw money out of the general fund to support the fire department,” Mr. Backus said.

        Getting the levy on the May 8 ballot will be a two-step process, Deputy Chief Bromen said. Trustees must now submit a resolution of necessity to Warren County Auditor Nick Nelson, who will then confirm the accuracy of the levy millage.

        The township will then have toask the Warren County Board of Elections to place the levy on the ballot. The deadline for submitting that request is Feb. 22.


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