EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – A local fire department has a levy renewal on the ballot that was last voted on before the pandemic.

Things have changed, but the levy for the East Liverpool Fire Department is for the same amount of money and they hope voters recognize the value in it being renewed.

The levy brings in about $700,000 a year and covers operating expenses to provide service across the city’s 4.89 square miles from the Central Fire Station and just under 10,000 residents. The levy started in 1989, and voters have renewed it every five years.

East Liverpool Fire Chief Bill Jones says he would lose half of his annual budget if the levy fails.

“We never get too confident that it is going to pass, again,” Jones said. That’s why we continue to work hard to give good services to the citizens.”

East Liverpool has three pieces of equipment paid for by grants, not the levy. It includes an ambulance that went into service in April and is the only one in city limits.

“By us starting that ambulance, we now have an ambulance available 24/7,” Jones said.

The ambulance only bills for what insurance pays. The residents do not see a bill.

Jones was part of the first group hired when the levy started. He leads a staff of 13 right now and could hire two more. He says the levy renewal is important for the fire department to keep covering the city.

“That’s the big thing. We hope they see how professional we are. How good of a job our guys do both on the ambulance and the fireside,” he said.

The new equipment has helped lower the city’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) fire rating, which helps residents get better insurance premiums. The chief will meet with the ISO next week and believes the score could drop again this year.