ST. CLAIRSVILLE - When voters take to the ballots this upcoming November, residents in the St. Clairsville area will have a chance to ensure the Cumberland Trail Fire District continues to operate at the quality and efficiency as it has for the past decades.
The Cumberland Trail Fire District 5mill Replacement Levy is being proposed to replace the two previous levies passed for the District in the years 1989 and 1998.
These two continuous levies that are currently in place, are structured in a way that was appropriate at the times they were passed.
Over the last 20 years, an array of factors have led to nearly $200,000 reductions in yearly revenues for Cumberland Trail.
Loss of property tax, deregulation, and Ohio budget cuts are behind this sudden deficit, which threatens a vital asset to the Saint Clairsville community.
Since taking over at the beginning of the year, Fire Chief Ken Saffell has strived to create a balanced strategic plan for Cumberland Trail Fire Department.
While having applied for supplemental Federal grants in hopes to help erase some of the deficits, these efforts came up somewhat short.
As many alternative options already having been explored, the levy would ensure that these deficits are no longer an obstacle in the way of the Department's service.
Providing quality service has become increasingly more expensive as advancements, regulations, and the economy takes its burden on many Fire stations across the State. In 1987, the first ladder was purchased for the Station at a cost roughly $200,000 dollars. When a replacement was purchased two decades later, the cost had risen to $600,000. With changes such as this occurring, it takes a community effort to maintain a Department, without sacrificing service quality and equipment.
Another concern for Saffell is staffing, which is limited in the current state of the organization with the preceding two levies in place. If passed, 3 additional full-time personnel would be a viable option, increasing safety for residents in times of need.
For the average household, the levy would be an increase of a mere $70-84 per year, which is a small cost in terms of having the comfort of assistance during emergencies.
Other upgrades on the structure of the Fire Station are on the list should the levy pass. Operating expenses, training, equipment projects are also on the list which will need addressed each year to keep Cumberland Trail under the guidelines set by State and Fire boards.
Muklewicz may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org