Fire, Police Levies To Face Voters

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Multiple townships are asking voters for continued support for their fire departments, and one village wants voters to bring more money to its police force.

Carthage, Bern, Canaan, Rome, Alexander and Lee townships are all looking to pick up five-year protection levies on Nov. 4. Every levy is a renewal with the exception of Carthage’s 1.5-mil replacement levy.


Athens Twp., which is serviced by The Plains Volunteer Fire Department, is looking for renewal of a 2.5-mill, five-year levy which will support fire equipment.

The equipment levy will be used to purchase new air packs, updated turnout gear, and anything that falls under a firefighter’s necessary equipment needs.

“All the (equipment) we have needs to be tested yearly and turnout gear needs replaced every 10 years,” said Chief Randy Williams of The Plains.

Being a volunteer operation, The Plains relies on the levy to keep its equipment up to code.

“This is the only money we get,” Williams said. “It’s tough to get financing through grants and other applications. This is money we know we are getting and it helps us out as well as the community.”

Many of the townships in the area rely on the fire levy money, including Alexander Twp., which utilizes fire services from Richland Area Volunteer Fire Department and the Albany Volunteer Fire Department.

“(Fire protection) is a big part of our budget and having the departments is extremely important,” said Brian Grubbs, an Alexander Twp. trustee. “It’s extremely important for our residents, too, to have these departments here.”

The money from the 1-mill, five-year renewal levy in Alexander Twp. is used for fuel, gear, replacement and repair of fire engines and all the other daily needs of the volunteers.

Albany Police Chief Robert Deardorff said his township’s levy will help the police department not only to keep in operation, but to possibly add more to the ranks. The renewal of a 1.5-mill, five-year police protection levy could help the department keep the man currently in charge.

Caleb Valkinburg is standing in for Deardorff while he recovers from surgery, but if the levy passes, Deardorff said he hopes Valkinburg can stay.

“We would like to keep him and have him build up our reserve program again,” Deardorff said.

In 2008, Albany’s proposal for a 1.5-mill levy failed to pass, forcing the department to cut two police officers from their department, according to previous Messenger reporting.

Currently, the chief and interim chief are the only members of the Albany Police Department.

The other fire protections facing voters on the November ballot are: a 1-mill, five-year renewal levy for Bern Twp. which would cost $0.10 per $100 of property value; a 1-mill, five-year renewal levy for Canaan Twp.; a 1.1-mill, 5-year renewal levy for Rome Twp. which would cost property owners $0.11 per $100 of property value; and a 0.5-mill, five-year renewal levy for Lee Twp.