As the May primary election draws near, I want to encourage all voters to get to the polls and vote. If you cannot make it to the polls on Election Day, please take advantage of one the many opportunities to vote early by mail or by stopping at the offices of the Board of Elections, 230 East Court St.
Public safety is a very major concern for all citizens. I would ask you to take a very serious look at the upcoming .30 percent income tax levy being proposed by the city of Sidney. As the former deputy fire chief/paramedic and fire marshal for the city of Sidney, I have responded many, many times and have seen the difference a few minutes can make in the outcome of an incident.
This is not a new issue for the city, as we have studied the need for a third fire station for many years. As the city continues to grow in size and spread out geographically, it is imperative that we consider response times to all areas of the city.
Response time can literally determine life and death. If you or a loved one is caught in a fire, has a heart attack, is involved in an accident, or any one of many different life threatening events that may occur to any of us at any time, even seconds count.
Did you realize that:
1. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the body that sets guidelines for all fire and emergency medical services (EMS)? When we as a community meet these guidelines, all property owners receive a more favorable insurance rating. That favorable rating lowers everyone’s insurance premium costs.
2. The city of Sidney currently covers 12.15 square miles. The city of Troy covers 11.94 square miles and has three fire stations. The city of Vandalia covers 12.41 square miles and has three fire stations. Tipp City has 7.641 square miles and they have two stations. They understand that seconds count.
3. Sidney currently has a 0.25 percent earned income tax that expires at the end of 2019. The new tax, if passed, will not go into effect until 2020 after the existing tax expires. This addition of only 0.05 percent is the most cost effective way and the fairest way to address our needs here in Sidney. This tax will NOT tax Social Security, pensions, disability, 401K’s, or investment income.
4. More than half (53 percent) of this tax will be paid by people who live outside of Sidney but work here and use our services. If you make $35,000 per year, you are only looking at $17.50 per year increase that is going to be evenly split between street repairs and fire department safety services.
While I have primarily addressed fire and EMS services, we can’t forget the condition city streets were in five years ago when the current 0.25 percent levy was passed. We must continue to have the necessary funds to repair our streets, and keep them in drivable condition.
I would strongly urge everyone to please get out and vote for this levy for the good of our community.
The writer resides in Sidney and is a co-chair of the Street and Safety Committee. This volunteer committee was formed to pass the .30 percent levy, on the May ballot, that will provide permanent funding for street maintenance and for a third Sidney Fire Station.