E. Palestine fire chief explains levy request

EAST PALESTINE -- A fire levy is needed to raise money for new firetrucks, but levy passage won't mean a quick fix, Fire Chief Brett Todd said.
Firefighters requested a fire levy to generate money to replace two firetrucks. Earlier this week, council approved a 1.5-mill, five-year levy that, if approved by voters Nov. 2, will generate about $84,000 per year.
Todd said the city will have to save the revenue annually for several years to buy the trucks. He said it would take about 10 years to raise enough money to replace two trucks.
Todd said the department needs to replace a 25-year-old pumper and a 35-year-old ladder truck.
Replacement costs are about $200,000 for the pumper and about $600,000 for a new ladder truck. The department's total operations budget is $270,000.
By the time the city can afford to replace those two trucks, the other trucks will be worn out, he said. Todd said there was a capital improvements fund for purchase of fire equipment, but the money was used for other city expenses. The city is in a financial crunch because of the loss of income tax revenue in recent years.
The department's newest truck is a pumper bought in 1996. The department also has a rescue vehicle, a grass firetruck and a hazardous materials trailer.

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