N.Baltimore levy to pay for fire truck
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Thursday, 01 November 2012 10:21
NORTH BALTIMORE - Village residents will be asked to support their fire department at the polls on Tuesday.
The department is asking for a 1.3-mill levy to raise funds to purchase a new pumper truck and related equipment. The cost is $440,000.
"It's really more important to the citizens," explained Mayor Mike Julien.
The village had three pumper trucks, but took one out off service and it is being decommissioned.
So the village is down to two pumpers, "neither one is relatively new," said Julien.
"If we allow that to continue for an extended period, it will reflect on insurance ratings" paid by residents and business owners, he added.
Ted Francisco, village fire chief, said the pumper being replaced in a 1977 Mac. The two remaining are from 1984 and 1998.
"We are rated through ISO on three trucks. Now with just two, our rating could change," the chief stated.
ISO provides information to help establish appropriate fire insurance premiums for residential and commercial properties.
Any structure fire requires two pumper trucks. The proposed new one would have a 1,250 gallons per minute pump and hold 1,000 gallons. The department now has two pumpers that pump 1,000 gallons per minute with 1,000 gallon tanks.
"We will actually pump more water when we need it," Francisco said about the proposed truck.
The owner of a $100,000 home would expect to pay $40 per year for the 10 years of the tax issue, according to the Wood County Auditor's Office.
Julien was unsure whether the cost of the levy will be more or less than the increased cost of premiums should the levy fail. He called the premium increases a "hidden cost.
"It's irresponsible to not take the steps necessarily to keep this from happening," Julien said.
The village provides fire services inside the village limits as well as for Henry Township residents, about 36 square miles. The township contracts with the village for fire protection.
"We are behind on trucks," Francisco stated.
And it takes nine to 10 months to get delivery if the levy passes and the truck is ordered by the end of the year.
Currently, the all-volunteer department is averaging 14 calls a month, including first responder and fire calls. There have been 139 runs so far this year. "We're on pace to break last year's record, and last year was 142. And we still have two months to go," the chief said.
The original request also included a brush fire truck, but the mayor said he asked the fire department to forego that request, as it was not a critical need.
The department also has a 1989 grass truck, a 2001 equipment van, and a 2005 tanker to haul water to fire scenes in the county.