Sylvania Fire Department banking on levy to avoid shortage - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Sylvania Fire Department banking on levy to avoid $1.2 mill shortfall

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A levy may be needed for the Sylvania Township Fire Department to avoid a $1.2 million budget shortfall in 2016.

It's still too early for officials in Sylvania Township to determine what kind of cuts would come if a levy fails, but they say that no matter what, it will have an effect on the public.

A $1.25 million levy that was passed in 2008 was supposed to last five years, but the township and department has had to stretch it by an additional year.  Now, the money has run out.

Officials are still trying to determine what size levy to request.

"Is this going for raises for the firemen?" asks Sylvania Township resident Al Hayes.  "I'm not against that, but is that where that money is going?  Where is that going to go?"

It's a question raised by more than just one person.  According to Department Chief Jeff Kowalski, money from the levy would fund a new fire prevention officer- a position lost in 2001 along with other staffing.

"Our EMS calls are going up about 28% and our fire calls are going up about 19%," said Chief Kowalski.  "We have to be able to have enough personnel to take those calls."

Chief Kowalski added that if the levy doesn't pass, the department will have to reduce manpower, which he says will increase response times.

"No one likes to hear about it, but there's very few choices," he said.  "(There's) going to be some hard choices that we're going to have to make in 2016 if we don't get the levy."

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