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Chesapeake voters

CHESAPEAKE – Passing a fire levy might be difficult, but there is no question that more funding is necessary to keep the Chesapeake-Union Township Volunteer Fire Department operational, fire and village officials said.

Thursday, August 12, 1999

CHESAPEAKE – Passing a fire levy might be difficult, but there is no question that more funding is necessary to keep the Chesapeake-Union Township Volunteer Fire Department operational, fire and village officials said.

But reduced service is not the only consequence of a failed levy. If residents don’t support the 1.5-mill, five-year levy, homeowners could see an increase in insurance rates, said Earl Hamlin, Chesapeake-Union Township Volunteer Fire Department assistant chief.

"The village’s truck is shot," Hamlin said. "It’s 20 years old."

The department currently operates at a 5/6 Insurance Service’s Office rating. The ISO rating is what insurance agencies use to determine homeowner insurance premiums.

If the department cannot replace its truck that rating could increase, which would raise insurance premiums, Hamlin said.

"It could go back up to a 9/10 (the worst rating a department can receive)," he said. "We worked hard to get it down to where it is now. But if this doesn’t pass and there are no grants available, we cannot replace the truck."

Although the department does receive funding through a continuous 1.5-mill levy, it’s not enough to purchase a new truck, Hamlin added.

"The ladder truck Ironton bought cost about $600,000," he said. "We don’t need anything like that, but it will be about $175,000 for a new one."

No one likes to pay additional taxes, said Paul Hart, council president.

"We’re not happy at all about this levy, but it is a necessary thing," Hart said. "We’ll leave it up to the voters. We’ll let them say yes or no. If no, I guess we’ll have to find it somewhere else. It’s a good thing to put it into the people’s hands and let them decide."

Chesapeake Village Council members voted to support the levy at their August regular meeting.

Although the department serves both the Chesapeake and Union Township areas, only Chesapeake residents will vote on this fire levy, Hart added.

The department has separate equipment for the village and for the township. Only the village’s truck needs to be replaced, he said.

"We have a cooperative agreement," Hart said. "But we can’t depend on the township’s equipment. They have their own equipment and we have to maintain a certain amount for the village. This particular one falls on the village."

Running a property tax levy just one year after area residents voted in a 3.51-mill bond levy for the construction of a new middle school and renovations to the current elementary and high school might be difficult, however, Hamlin said.

"Right now, the only thing we can do is get out and talk to people," he said. "We desperately need to get a new truck. With the school tax, I think it’s going to be a hard fought battle. People just don’t want more taxes, and I can understand that."will decide fire levy