We received the following article from the Concord Administrator, Mr. Andy Rose. We previously offered a forum to anyone that wanted to write an article supporting the Concord Fire Levy, and we always keep a promise. This is a “copy and paste” of everything written by Mr. Rose. There have been no edits by us. Rather than bury it in our previous article, we decided to publish it as a stand-alone article. Here is a link to the previous article that provides opinions against the levy:
Brian, Good afternoon. Attached is my submission to the News-Herald which was published today. I request it be included in your ongoing article for viewpoints on Concord’s Fire Station. To be fair, please indicate it was published in the News-Herald and flash it big like you did with your opinion piece from August. Thanks.
Saturday, October 12, 2019
Concord Twp. needs fire station
Another viewpoint is a column The News-Herald makes available so all sides of an issue may be aired. Andy Rose of Mentor- on-the-Lake is the Concord Township Administrator.
More than 50 years ago, Concord Township smartly invested in community safety, building two fire stations. They were state-of-the-art stations – for a mid-1960s community and a mid-1960s fire department.
It is time to make a new, smart investment in community safety. We owe it to our firefighters, to ourselves, and to future generations to invest in 21st century fire service provided by 21st century firefighters.
That is what the Township’s proposal for new fire stations is all about.
We are proposing a .83-mill bond levy over 28 years for a new, not to exceed $10 million, Fire Station #1.
Current engineer estimates are at $8.9 million. That translates to about $29 a year in property taxes per $100,000 home value.
Fire Station #1 will be the larger of the two stations, allowing us to consolidate FOUR locations where we currently store equipment and conduct the more extensive training our firefighters need on this site. We gave careful consideration to all the options and worked on the front end to hold down costs.
Today’s Concord Township firefighters are highly skilled emergency responders.
Besides putting out fires, they rescue people. This includes from water and ice, confined spaces, and collapsed trenches. When hazardous materials are a threat, we call our firefighters.
Our firefighters rolled on more than 2,600 emergencies last year – that’s 31 percent more emergency calls than in 2006. This job requires courage, strength, skill, sophisticated equipment, and constant training. Our firefighters bring the courage and strength. We need to give them the best tools and training to do their jobs, so when the work is done, they go home to their families.
Remodeling the old stations is cost prohibitive and unworkable.
We have managed to squeeze more than 50 years of use out of our fire stations, but the Fire Department has simply outgrown them. We cannot put it more plainly than this: The outdated fire stations we are using now have inadequate smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide systems. Think about that. Our firefighters live and work in facilities that don’t meet current fire protection standards.
Our stations do not have adequate decontamination facilities to ensure firefighters are able to properly remove deadly cancer-causing toxins as a result of fire operations.
Our Township Trustees and Fire Chief have done considerable legwork looking at how other communities constructed fire stations.
We evaluated, reviewed plans, discussed with other communities the pros and cons of their stations. We established a firefighter design working group to ensure we are getting valuable input from the line fire fighters.
The Trustees reached out to the community for input – and listened.
We rejected the idea of a continuous levy after hearing significant opposition to continuous levies expressed at Trustee meetings.
We changed the proposed footprint of Station #1 to preserve a ballfield as well as the historic Town Hall building.
And we nixed the plan to add space to Station #1 for township administrative offices – that proposal, we decided, was too big and too expensive.
We continue to offer any citizen the opportunity to visit our station and meet with Township officials to discuss the project.
Our financial goal for Station #1 is to pay down the debt early. The Township has a track record on this, such as paying off an Ohio SIB loan for approximately $2.7 million – a financing tool offered by the Ohio Department of Transportation – more than 15 years early which saved over $1.5 million in interest.
Together, if we make this investment, what will we get?
• Improved response times when you or a loved one face an emergency.
• Dramatically improved safety, health, and living and working conditions for our firefighters.
This station will have enhanced decontamination stations as well as additional showers to allow firefighters a quick turnaround to prepare for and be ready for the next call.
• Lower operational costs as we will consolidate the four facilities we now use to store equipment and staff for Station #1 in one modern building.
• Safer, more efficient fire operations for generations to come.
Every person who lives in, works in or visits Concord Township depends on our firefighters to keep them safe during life-threatening emergencies.
Our firefighters protect our homes, our businesses, our kids in schools and at home, and our parents and grandparents.
They help take care of us every day.
It’s time to step up and take care of them.