Ravenna Township fire levy to affect volunteers

Kelly Mills

A lot has been changing in the Ravenna Township Fire Department, and the funding has to change with it.

In tomorrow’s special election in Ravenna Township, a replacement levy will be on the bill for citizens to vote on. The levy, which will fund the fire department, will go toward a number of changes that have been made since the last levy passed.

The most significant change has been from being a volunteer fire department to being full-time.

“When we started the levy, we didn’t have full-time people,” said Robert Cherry, chairman of the Ravenna Township Trustees. “Now we have full-time people part of the union. We are staffed 24 hours a day.”

The new levy is on the ballot to replace the old levy, which expired on Dec. 31. The old levy earned a total of $585,000 per year for the township. The new levy will replace the old levy and collect additional funds to raise a total of $900,000 per year.

The additional money will be used to help fund the full-time and part-time firefighters’ salaries as well as support staff salaries, equipment, fuel and other expenses incurred by the department.

The owner of a $100,000 home in Ravenna Township will go from paying $160 per year under the old levy to paying $220.50 per year.

“People are getting a great bargain for their money,” Ravenna Township Fire Chief Steven Bosso said. “We aren’t asking for a dime more than we need.”

Cherry said the residents really will be getting a bargain out of the levy because they are funding the full-time fire station. He said insurance ratings are so different in areas with full-time firefighters as opposed to a volunteer station that the savings on insurance premiums more than offset the cost of the levy.

Another reason maintaining full-time staff is important is to be able to provide better service to residents. The fire department covers both fire and Emergency Medical Services.

“If you need a paramedic – and we made 1,200 calls last year – you want someone there quickly and you want someone experienced,” Cherry said. “If you call the fire department, you want knowledgeable people who have the right equipment.”

Because the levy will be in place for the next five years and will not be able to be increased without another vote, Cherry said it is very important to pass the levy with the increase.

Contact public affairs reporter Kelly Mills at [email protected].