Both supporters and opponents of Liberty Township’s fire levy are making their voices heard, but for some firefighters, the flame throwing is too much.
Four firefighters have submitted their resignation in recent weeks, and in more than one case, the resignations have been directly attributed to the stress and uncertainty surrounding the fire levy and whether their jobs would be axed.
Liberty Township Fire Chief Tim Jensen said that his firefighters are fighting to save their jobs.
“For over a year now, we’ve been under the microscope last year with Issue 2. This year, it’s with our operating levy,” Jensen said.
10TV News obtained one of the four resignation letters.
One firefighter wrote “The looming levy has placed momentous strains and stress on both his professional and personal lives.”
“For us, it’s a loss and it’s hard to see good people go,” Jensen said.
According to Jensen, if those who are against the levy have their way, Liberty Township could have to say goodbye to even more firefighters.
Levy opponents said that they do not buy Jensen’s argument.
“The fire department is over-staffed,” said opponent Mike Gemperline.
The Liberty Township Fire Department is asking voters to increase their current tax from 6 to 6.6 mills.
The proposed levy would bring $8.4 million, up from the current $5.9 million.
“It would be like me demanding a 42 percent raise,” Gemperline said. “I would love to have one, but 42 percent is too high.
Jenson said that they’re not asking for a raise but are just trying to maintain their level of service.
“The single biggest cost to save money is to reduce labor, and that is the foundation of what we do,” Jensen said.
Jensen said that if voters turn down the levy, Liberty Township residents could feel the effects.
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