West Milton police, fire levy up for renewal


By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — Voters will decide on Tuesday, Nov. 2 whether or not to renew a 0.5% income tax levy in support of the West Milton fire and police departments.

“No new taxes,” West Milton Fire Chief David Jay said. “It is a renewal and does not increase taxes.”

“The 0.5% income tax levy was originally passed in November 1996,” Jay said. “The levy has a five-year term, and the current levy expires on Dec. 31, 2021; the renewal levy term is Jan. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2026.”

The levy is a critical part of both the fire and police department budgets.

“The levy currently generates over $400,000 each year,” Jay said. “The total safety budget — police and fire departments combined — is $1.4 million, so the levy provides 30% of the total budget.”

“We can buy and maintain state of the art equipment with the levy,” Jay said. “Proceeds from the levy are split between the fire and police divisions based on annual needs. The levy allows us to maintain a high level of safety services that the citizens of the municipality of West Milton and Union Township expect and deserve.”

When it was originally passed, proceeds from the levy were specified to buy and maintain equipment, purchase a new fire truck and pay the salaries of two police officers.

“The fire department was able to buy an air trailer to refill our Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) after passage of the original levy,” Jay said. “We could not have purchased the trailer without the levy.”

“We were also able to buy a 1998 fire engine that is still in service,” he said. “Our most recent purchase was 24 new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus to replace SCBAs that their service life had expired and needed replaced.”

If the levy passes as usual, major purchases planned for 2022 include trucks, equipment and police salaries. The fire department also needs to replace a large amount of fire hose that has reached the end of its service life. “Next year we plan to replace 1,200 feet of large diameter supply line that needs replaced, some of which has been in service since 1988,” Jay said.

“The last levy renewal was in 2016, for the current term Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2021,” Jay said. “The citizens have always been supportive of the emergency services in West Milton.”

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