PERRY TWP. - Township residents will be asked to renew a 1.5-mill safety forces levy to pay for equipment, repairs and communications expenses in the police and fire departments for another five years.
Fiscal Officer Susan Johnston said the levy won't cost taxpayers any additional money since it's a renewal and will generate an estimated $125,500 per year to be split between the fire and police departments.
The levy first put on about 15 years ago does not cover any salaries or benefits. She explained it can only be used for equipment, such as the new fire truck or a new police cruiser, for repairs and maintenance of equipment, and for communications, such as radios, the new radio tower or the dispatching contracts for the police and fire departments.
Matt Castles, 12, of Salem, tries out the driver’s seat of Perry Township’s newest fire truck, a KME Kovatch pumper which arrived Feb. 28. The truck with a price tag of $336,908 was on display with the fire department’s other vehicles and equipment during an open house Saturday. Castles, a member of Boy Scouts Troop 2 at the Salem Methodist Church was working on his fire safety merit badge during the open house. The new fire truck replaced a 1977 pumper and was purchased with levy funds saved over a number of years. (Salem News photo by Mary Ann Greier)
The entire amount generated by the levy isn't always spent each year, with money put back over several years for large purchases, such as the recent new fire truck or a police cruiser she's expecting the township may purchase later this year. The new fire truck cost $336,908.
She estimated that the township spent $38,800 for the police last year and $21,283 for the fire department last year out of the levy, with the rest set aside. She said the levy money cannot be used for EMS equipment because when the levy was passed, it was strictly for police and fire and did not mention EMS. She said the other two fire levies are the same.
Both the police and fire departments contract with the Columbiana County Sheriff's Office for dispatching, at a cost of $300 per month for the fire department and $1,200 per month for the police department, both paid quarterly.
Besides the levy up for renewal by township voters, the police and fire departments rely on other levies for funding. The fire department has two other levies, both continuous and both .5-mill levies. The police department relies on a 1.5-mill levy and a 1-mill levy, both renewed every five years, along with a continuous 1.5-mill levy.
Residents can look on the Columbiana County Auditor's website to check on what they pay for levies at www.columbianacntyauditor.org.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org