Even if a new levy is approved in February, it will not stop cuts from occurring at the Liberty Township Fire Department, according to Fire Chief Tim Jensen.
Voters rejected a $15-per-month hike at the polls on Tuesday by 102 votes, and Jensen said that the failed levy now is a matter of public safety.
“When I started here in 1990, there were about 5,400 people,” Jensen said. “Now, we’re at 29,000.”
Jensen said that his fire department is about to run out of money and will not be able to serve the growing population of the Powell area.
When Jensen found out about the levy failure, he said that he felt like he was “punched in the gut.”
The fire chief said that the station on Sawmill Parkway is on the chopping block. As are a number of firefighters.
“Nothing is off the table,” Jensen said.
Residents showed up in droves at a meeting Wednesday evening.
One resident who opposed the levy gave his reasons.
“Tax increases ought to be an absolute last resort,” the resident said. “We’ve got retirees in this township that are paying what they can pay.”
Another resident, in favor of the levy, pleaded with the township trustees to do what they could to keep the department from closing forever.
“They say you get emotional after you have a heart attack,” the resident said. “These guys helped save my life.”
The new levy, which trustees voted to place on the February ballot, would cost residents about $7 a month per $100,000 of assessed property value.
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