PLEASANT HILL — Residents of Pleasant Hill and Newton Township voted to approve a tax levy for the joint fire district, according to election results released Tuesday evening. Voters turned down a related bond issue to provide a new fire/EMS building.
According to unofficial results, the tax levy passed with 52.17 percent for and 47.83 percent against. The bond issue failed with 46.05 percent for and 53.95 against.
“The tax levy (is) our operating money, so if one had to pass and one not, that’s the one we need to keep our EMS and fire services going,” said Pleasant Hill-Newton Township President Stan Fessler. “We’re disappointed, of course, but we’ll regroup and see what’s next.”
After the levy, which initially consisted of both issues in one, was defeated last November, the JFD board reached out to the community to seek information regarding why the issue was voted down.
“One of the biggest issues was that the previous levy was permanent, meaning that once the new fire station was paid off, in approximately 28 years, the JFD would still be collecting all the revenue from the bond,” Fessler said in March.
Taking the information gathered from residents within the community, the board restructured what appeared on the ballot this time around.
“We split the levy into two separate levies,” said EMS chief Adam Marchal. “One is an operations levy and the other one is a bond levy for a building.”
The building bond issue, Fessler said, would have been set for a set period of time, no longer than 28 years. The operating levy will be used to address the main need to cover the EMS salaries of approximately $266,000 for round-the-clock coverage, along with providing and maintaining fire/EMS equipment.
According to Fessler, the JFD board will meet Wednesday evening to address the outcome of the failed bond issue and to discuss next steps.