Currently, the fire department budget is supplemented by a 3.2 mil levy passed in 2017. While the residents of North College Hill overwhelmingly supported this effort, not all operational needs were fully funded. In 2019, a subsequent effort to address these critical needs by partnering with Mt Healthy to form a Joint Fire District was voted down by the voters of both communities, who voiced overwhelmingly their desire to retain their own fire departments. Mt Healthy voters subsequently approved a levy adding 12.9 mils to their existing 5 mil permanent levy in 2020.
In light of continued service delivery issues and projected shortfalls in general fund revenue affecting the fire budget, the mayor formed a task force to explore options to address these concerns in early 2020. Based on the research and recommendations of the task force, city council concluded a fire levy was the only fix and unanimously voted to place it on the general election ballot (Resolution 17-2020).
A reduction in tax sharing from the state of Ohio; lack of economic growth, rising demands for service, increasing employee costs, medical supplies and equipment; and an aging fire station in dire need of repairs are just a few of the reasons this additional revenue is needed to maintain current fire and emergency service operational levels.
- The safety of our community is at risk
- The Fire Department has seen a steady increase in calls for service and reliance on mutual aid
- Fire and EMS units are understaffed daily
- There is a need to staff additional EMS units to serve our community
- Current revenue will not allow the Fire Department to deliver the needed services @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- The funds will be used to sustain the current operations
- Fund 9 full-time firefighter/paramedics positions (6 additional)
- Ensure that 2 adequately staffed and equipped paramedic ambulances are available to respond to your emergencies
- Improve safety throughout our community
- Reduced response times
- Meet the emergency safety needs of a diverse community @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- The current funding and staffing model for the Fire Department is based mostly on part-time firefighter/paramedics and EMTs. Due to circumstances affecting our industry as a whole the pool of available part-time firefighters has decreased despite an aggressive recruitment campaign. Facing a shortage of part-time firefighter/paramedics, the city has no option but to hire additional full-time firefighter/paramedics to accompany the part-time personnel. Without an adequate staff of both full and part-time firefighter/paramedics, the department has been forced to ‘brownout’ an ambulance and/or the entire station in some instances, thereby hindering service to the community. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- A brownout occurs when there are not enough firefighter/paramedics available to fully staff a given shift. This situation necessitates the ‘brownout’ or non-use of fire apparatus, medic units or a fire station. This is a temporary reduction in our daily firefighting and emergency response force as there are fewer fire/EMS personnel available to respond to emergency requests for service. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- Any person in an emergency situation could be impacted by a brownout. If our units are ‘browned-out’ another crew from a neighboring jurisdiction must be called. As a result, response times could double as other crews respond to the emergency. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
- Voter passage of the 12-mill fire levy will allow the hiring of 6 additional full-time firefighter/paramedics. Additionally, it will provide a competitive wage and incentive package to attract and retain additional part-time personnel. Passage also assists the city in retaining the three full-time firefighter/paramedics hired in 2018. These new hires will yield fully staffed fire stations and ultimately a substantial reduction in the frequency of brownouts. The selection process for full-time firefighter/paramedics would begin in early 2022 with the expectation of appointments in the spring of 2022 when funding will become available. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>