Proposed tax levy to provide fire services

by Michele Collins

A proposed tax levy for Sagamore Hills Township will provide 24/7/365 fire service coverage, according to Sagamore Hills Trustee Paul Schweikert. 

Schweikert said the levy ensures a professional firefighting staff will cover the township, thanks to a 15-year contract with the city of Macedonia for fire services.  He stated that the levy, which is for 1.5 mills, should cover the services for at least 8 to 10 years, and that passage of the levy would cost township property owners approximately $45 more per $100,000 of property value.

Voters are slated to decide the fate of the levy at the May 3 election.

According to the township proposal, the tax levy increase will:

  • Provide and maintain fire apparatus, mechanical resuscitators, underwater rescue, recovery equipment or other fire equipment and appliances.
  • Establish and maintain lines of fire-alarm communications.
  • Ensure payment for firefighters, EMS and administrative personnel in the department.
  • Cover the cost of ambulance equipment.

The levy comes after the township recently ratified a contract with Macedonia for fire services.  Schweikert said operating a stand-alone fire service was difficult to staff, especially with part-time staff and volunteers.  He said by combining with Macedonia, there is a professional staff always on duty. He added that the tax increase was needed mainly to cover the cost of personnel.

Chief Brian Ripley of Macedonia Fire Department said, “The fate of the levy will essentially have zero effect on Macedonia Fire.”

Macedonia Fire is a contracted service provider for Sagamore Hills Township. 

He added, “We certainly support this levy as we understand the importance of the service this levy will fund.”

Ripley noted there are increases written into the 15-year contract with Sagamore to cover the escalation in costs of goods and labor.

If the levy passes, the first increase in taxes would not come due until 2023. ∞