Feb. 5, 2006
Tuesday election will decide fire/EMS issue
CARLISLE — Voters will have another opportunity Tuesday in a special election to decide whether the city should have a combined fire and emergency medical services department with 24-hour staffing or continue as a volunteer fire department.
This is the second time in three months this levy has been before voters. Last November, the levy was narrowly defeated.
But those election results were set aside due to voting irregularities from the new electronic touch screen voting machines.
More votes were cast than there were registered voters in the city’s Montgomery County precinct. The city contested the results, and the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court ordered Tuesday’s special election at Montgomery County’s cost.
Voters on the Warren County side of the city will be using new optical scan voting machines.
If voters approve the continuing replacement and increase 3.8-mill fire and EMS levy, it would replace Carlisle’s current 2-mill fire levy and the 1.8-mill Joint Emergency Medical Services levy that city residents currently pay. It would cost the owner of a home with a tax value of $100,000 about $133 a year — about $4 more than what taxpayers are currently paying.
Carlisle officials proposed to expand the fire department last spring after Franklin Township Trustees voted to end the $24,000 fire protection contract with the city for the portion of the township west of the Great Miami River.
Fire Chief Greg Wallace said despite efforts to find additional revenues, operating costs are increasing while calls for service are down 6 percent. The loss of the township contract will result in a projected “worst-case scenario” deficit of $76,000 starting in 2007, Mayor Jerry Ellender said.
Passage of the levy would add the EMS unit and create 24-hour staffing to improve response times to fire and EMS calls, Ellender said.
In addition, police officers would be trained to render aid until the paramedics or emergency medical technicians arrive at the scene.
According to city officials, Carlisle represents 13 percent of the JEMS calls and revenues. If the levy is approved, Carlisle would withdraw from the JEMS district starting in 2007.
That prospect is what has two former mayors opposing the levy. While Sharon Byrd and Drexel Lykins are ardent supporters of the fire department, they prefer the city remain in the JEMS district.
“If you got something working perfectly, why would you pull it apart?” Lykins said at last week’s town forum.
Contact Ed Richter at (513) 705-2871, or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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