PORT WILLIAM — A new and updated firehouse for the Port William-Liberty Township Joint Fire & EMS is the reason for the tax levy and bond issue in the Nov. 5 election.
“Basically what we’re doing is trying to build a new firehouse,” said Dave Smith, Chairperson of the Fire Board and a former firefighter, during a discussion with locals. “We’ve basically outgrown what we’ve got.”
The 3.45-mill tax levy would use the money for the purpose of providing and maintaining the firehouse for the next five years, while the 1.2. mills bond issue would be used to acquire and construct a new and improved firehouse to be repaid annually over a maximum period of 30 years.
According to estimates from the Clinton County Auditor’s office, the tax levy would generate $241,519 and the bond would generate $83,798.
At the September meeting, held at the Port William Senior Center, Smith told attendees the current building puts limits on what the first responders can do. Among those is trying to get enough funds to also have at least two part-time people during the day shift.
“We struggle for manpower during the day, because everyone has jobs. We’re fortunate to have what we’ve got, but it’s getting to the point where we almost have to have part-time people or full-time people,” said Smith, adding they are looking for volunteers.
According to him, while they’ve been fortunate enough to pick up new people, they’re still accepting applicants for firefights and EMTs.
“It’s hard to find people,” he said.
When talking about the current firehouse — formerly a garage — Smith said it can’t contain the newer and growing equipment the firefighters need.
Logan Bailey, Chief Deputy for the Clinton County Auditor’s office, explained to attendees using a $100,000 market-priced residence as an example of what it these two issues would cost. For the tax levy, it would cost an extra $121.10. And the bond would cost an additional $42.
Bailey also informed locals of the new levy calculator that can be located at the auditor’s website —clintonoh.ddti.net. This was designed to help locals estimate how a proposed levy might affect your taxes.
Also at the meeting was Chris Widener, an architect with the WDC Group of Springfield, who presented two possible designs and layout to the new firehouse. Widener described them as being simple in design and would be located to the right of the Liberty Township building.
One design, described by Widener as “being on the verge of a large house,” would feature three 60-f00t apparatus bay doors, an area to keep equipment, a decon room for when personnel return from a run, a meeting area/room, four smaller rooms, two restrooms, and a place for refrigeration and other kitchen facilities.
“We don’t go spending money, just to be spending money,” said Smith. “In the past, we didn’t have to spend. So, we learned how to operate on what we had. But things are different today … we’ve got a good group, we’re frugal with our money … and we’re looking forward to hopefully a new building.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574