NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) – Buying gas, groceries or paying for electricity — prices are on the rise. We’re all feeling the pinch, including local fire departments.
With a rising number of emergency medical calls and increasing costs, the Newton Falls Joint Fire District is finding it harder to keep their budget in the black.
“We’re about 285 calls ahead of last year,” said Chief Doug Theobald. “We’ve seen a 150% increase in our diesel fuel costs. In just this last year, we’ve seen at least 100 to 150% increase in medical supplies. What we used to pay for a box of rubber gloves at $20, we’re paying $65 a box of gloves.”
So, they’re turning to voters.
“Nobody wants to go to the voters and say we need more money. We would like to operate with what you’ve give us, but in this environment, we can’t,” Theobald said.
They’re asking voters to decide on a five-year four mills additional levy to provide and maintain EMS service.
If approved, it would cost the owner of a $100,000 less than $12 a month or $140 for the year, plus generate a little more than $500,000 for the fire district.
“We need this levy to support the operations and to help our residents know and have great confidence that when they call 911 that someone’s gonna answer it,” Theobald said.
Theobald says the levy’s passage would help ease the burden associated with the cost of staffing and inflation, but if it fails:
“I would expect you would see a reduction in service,” he said.