July 25, 2011

Dear Scioto Township Residents:

In light of the Fire Department losing the fire and emergency medical services contract with the Orient Correctional Complex, the Scioto Township Board of Trustees has authorized placing a 4.6 mil levy on the November 8th ballot.  The Board of Trustees and the Fire Department have not taken this decision lightly or without appreciation for the difficult economic situations we are all facing.  Two important questions have been raised in response to the request for this levy. 

What steps has the Fire Department taken to reduce its costs?

1.    Two Full-Time Firefighter positions are vacant and an Assistant Chief's position was also left vacant.

2.    Our overall daily staffing was reduced from six (6) to four (4) Firefighter/Paramedics - a 33% reduction.

3.    Two Part-Time Firefighter positions in our daily staffing have been eliminated.

4.    All personnel have had their pay rates frozen at 2010 levels and the Fire Chief has voluntarily taken a 2% pay cut.

5.    As always, all maintenance and repairs that we are capable of performing are being done in-house by the Firefighters.

6.    All outside training has been suspended unless it is free-of-charge.

Why is this levy needed?

There are two significant reasons why this levy is needed.  First, this levy is needed so that we are able to provide the residents of Scioto Township with an adequate level of fire, rescue and emergency medical services that the community expects and deserves.  Passing this levy will allow the Fire Department to staff five (5) Firefighter/Paramedics or EMT's per day.  Five Firefighters per day will provide us with the capability of staffing:
1.    Two ambulances at one time or one ambulance with sufficient personnel to effectively manage a major trauma, cardiac arrest, etc.;

2.    An ambulance and a rescue for auto accident responses;

3.    Two fire engines for structure fires; and,

4.    A tanker and grass firefighting vehicle for off-road fire responses.

Please keep in mind that this is not an increase in staffing!  In fact, the Fire Department had staffed six (6) Firefighters per day until July 1, 2011.  This levy will not restore the staffing of six Firefighters.  

The second reason this levy is needed is because of our current financial situation.

    1.    Projected 2012 revenues                $   826,000.00
    2.    Projected 2012 expenses                $1,155,000.00
    3.    Projected 2012 deficit                    ($  329,000.00)

This deficit is after all staff and salary reductions as well as cost savings measures noted above - an approximately $208,000.00 reduction compared to 2011 budgeted expenses.
There are several other reasons why this levy is needed:

1.    The Scioto Township Fire Department has not implemented a new property tax levy since 1996 - we have been very responsible with your tax dollars;

2.    Reduced staffing has an effect on response capabilities, which affects our ability to quickly and effectively mitigate emergencies and exposes you, your family, and the firefighters to a greater level of danger;

3.    A decrease in service and response capabilities has a direct impact on the Township's ISO or Insurance Service Office Town Class Rating - this may cause homeowner and business owner insurance rates to increase!

The proposed levy will merely keep your Fire Department at the current reduced levels as noted above.  The levy will provide only core services with no replacement of vehicles or equipment funded.  If you have additional questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me at the number listed above or via email at pwelch@sciototownship.com.  Thank you for your support!

Yours in public safety,

Chief Porter R. Welch
Scioto Township Fire Department