KNOX TOWNSHIP- Residents Tuesday will be voting whether or not to give a little more for fire protection.
The township will have two fire protection replacement levies on the ballot- 1-mill, five years each for the Homeworth and North Georgetown fire districts. Homeworth's will generate $44,400 annually and North Georgetown's will generate $33,200 annually.
The levies will replace the current fire protection levies which expire at the end of tax year 2012. The previous rate voted in several years ago has dropped, so the replacement levies are needed to help meet growing expenses at the two departments, according to township Fiscal Officer Debra Hartzell. With the new rates, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $31 a year, an increase of $11.
The money generated by the levies goes to the township and then is distributed based on jurisdiction size to the two departments for general operation expenses such as equipmenst and training, Hartzell said.
According to Homeworth Fire Chief Brian Baker, the increase is needed to cover rising expenses associated with more equipment and an increase in calls.
"The community has been great showing us support," he said. "The levy helps us to maintain and better the department.
"[Firefighters] are out there as volunteers risking our lives. We're able to take bigger risks when you know your equipment works and your fellow firefighters know what they're doing."
Although the Homeworth department has been able to secure grant funding for operation, Baker estimated that just about all of its funding comes through the levy.
North Georgetown Fire Chief Ed Reichenbach said that the increase in funding will be used to update equipment and training at his department, as well.
"We want to make the department better to better serve the township residents and appreciate everybody's vote," he said.
Kevin Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org