New Waterford council to seek 1.7-mill levy for fire department

NEW WATERFORD – During a special meeting, council unanimously voted to place an additional 1.7-mill fire levy on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The fire department has been operating on a continuous 2.5-mill levy that generates $17,700 a year under current tax valuations.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Fire Chief Greg Van Pelt said the levy was first enacted in the mid 1980s.

The 1.7-mill issue will bring in 17 cents for each $100 of tax valuation and add $21,400 annually to the fire department budget.

If passed, it will become continuous.

The amount is based upon a total tax valuation, calculated by the estimated property tax revenue, of $13,102,740.

Council passed the resolution with an emergency clause and Council President Bill Mullarkey said, “It’s money that’s needed because of the cost of equipment … costs keep going up, it’s definitely needed.”

Van Pelt said, “We definitely appreciate council’s standing behind us. Hopefully the citizens will too.”

Van Pelt added, “Cost pretty much sums it up … we did without for a lot of years.”

Councilman Tom Cresanto pointed to the cost of airpacks and even vehicle tires noting there was a time when “we used to horse trade … but those days are gone.”

When he joined the department in 1990, Cresanto said the cost for turnout gear was about $1,200. “Now it’s over $3,000,” he said, adding, “our men and women are doing an excellent job and would like to have this increase in revenues not only for the village but the surrounding communities.” The department has mutual aid agreements and has a contract with Fairfield Township.

Cresanto, a firefighter himself, said he voted for it because, “This will help us ensure the safety of my troops.”

Councilman George Pirock noted, “The village needs addition funding and the fire department is in the same position.”

Councilwoman Doris Ogle said, “It’s necessary …” adding the village is operating as well as it has in 100 years.

Councilman Gary DeMarchis said, “Our fire equipment is dated and we have to look to get the proper equipment to properly serve the community.”

Councilman Ken Biddle said he was concerned about “the safety of our firefighters, they risk their lives everyday.”

Cresanto said, “You can’t fight fire the same way you did 10 years ago” adding that Scott airpacks and other “proper equipment” are needed.

Fiscal Officer Dave Slagle said, “It’s just hard for me to believe the department has existed on $17,700 for all these years … they really know how to pinch a penny here.”

The increase to taxpayers of a home costing $40,000 will be $23.40 a year; a $50,000 home will be $29,75 annually; a $60,000 home will be $35.70 per year; a $70,000 home will be $41.65 annually; an $80,000 home will be $47.60 a year; a $90,000 home will be $53.55 a year; a $100,000 home will be $59.50 per year; and a $150,000 home will cost $89.25.