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

Local fire department looking at levy or cuts

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SYLVANIA TOWNSHIP, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Residents in one local community may soon have to make a choice: pay for a new levy or see cuts to their fire department.

To survive in 2015 with the same level of service they provide now, Sylvania Township Fire Chief Jeff Kowalski says they'll need more money.

"It's a 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 just like homeowners do."

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

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

So they will be turning to voters in 2014, asking them to support a levy so they can avoid making major cuts.

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

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

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

The township administrator says they're organizing a committee to look over the department's finances to see how much the levy would need to generate. Voters can expect to see the issue on the ballot in 2014.

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