The Harlem Township Board of Trustees is asking voters to approve a four-year, 4-mill replacement levy for the benefit of maintaining the township’s fire service.
According to Harlem Township Division of Fire Chief Dale Fling, if approved by voters, the 4-mill levy will cost an owner of a $100,000 home $104 annually.
Fling said the township’s fire department is a relatively lean operation with a mixture of full- and part-time firefighters/paramedics. He said the station is always staffed with at least three firefighters/paramedics around the clock.
“Personnel is 85 percent of the budget,” he said. “People expect to pay for that safety net, but for us to be responsible with their tax dollars.”
Fling said if the need arises for more personnel, he has a contingent of on-call personnel.
“Sometimes I get three or four. Sometimes I get zero,” he said. “If I get zero, there is still mutual aid.”
Fling added his department assists with mutual aid in Delaware, Franklin and Licking counties. He said the department also trains with the other area departments.
“The more they’re together, the better the confidence is they have in each other,” he said.
Fling said the remainder of the budget is for apparatus, which the department takes care of so it will last as long as possible. He said the department’s tanker was purchased the year he joined the department in 1978.
“Not many of the guys know how to drive it, because it’s a stick shift,” he said.
The language on the ballot states, “Property tax replacement — 4.0 mills, 4-years, commencing 2018, first due 2019 providing and maintaining fire apparatus, appliances, buildings or sites therefor, or sources of water supply and materials therefor, or the establishment and maintenance of lines of fire alarm telegraph, or the payment of permanent, part-time, or volunteer firefighters or firefighting companies to operate the same, including the payment of the firefighter employers’ contribution required under section 742.34 of the Ohio Revised Code, or the purchase of ambulance equipment, or the provision of ambulance, paramedic, or other emergency medical services operated by a fire department or firefighting company.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.