Local fire department looking at levy or cuts - Toledo News Now, News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Local fire department looking at levy or cuts

SYLVANIA TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Residentsin one local community may soon have to make a choice: pay for a new levy orsee cuts to their fire department.

Tosurvive in 2015 with the same level of service they provide now, SylvaniaTownship Fire Chief Jeff Kowalski says they'll need more money.

"It'sa challenge every day, with the diminished funds we're getting from the state,"he said. "Property taxes are down and we have an increase in gas prices justlike homeowners do."

Withless money coming in and the number of calls increasing by about 5 percent eachyear, it's hard for the department to keep up.

"Wehave already cut our budgets as much as we can right now," Kowalski said.

Sothey will be turning to voters in 2014, asking them to support a levy so theycan avoid making major cuts.

"Thelevel of service would have to diminish in some way, because we'd have to cutpersonnel or cut apparatus that are responding," the chief said.

Andthat would increase response times. So while some people in the area say theycan't afford to pay more taxes, other say it would be money well spent.

"Wherewould we be without them? We would be really complaining if they couldn't getto our house if it was on fire or something else like that," said Linda Emch. "Thisis one of the things, like the schools, you just can't do without."

Thetownship administrator says they're organizing a committee to look over thedepartment's finances to see how much the levy would need to generate. Voterscan expect to see the issue on the ballot in 2014.

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