JACKSON TWP. Voters in Jackson Township will find a fire replacement levy on the ballot on March 17.

Issue 11 is a five-year, 7.5 mills levy. It will replace a current levy that was passed in 2015, which was also a five-year levy. It will cost a homeowner of a $100,000 home an additional $69 per year than what they have been paying.

“We’re putting an additional amount in the replacement levy because of the increase in the number of calls over the last five years,” said Fire Chief Tracy Hogue. “The number of calls has increased 22 percent. It’s a less than 19 cents per day increase for us to be able to combat the rising call rates and keep our residents safe.”

In 2019, there were 7,161 calls for service with 81 percent of those EMS related and 19 percent fire related. There were 5,843 calls for service in 2015. Hogue said that the department has about the same number of calls each day except Sundays, which is usually lower. With such an increase in demand, comes a need for another ambulance to be added to the department’s fleet.

“With the increase in the number of calls we’ve been getting, we need to add another unit or ambulance and crew of four to five people because we want keep response times to calls the same as they have been in the past,” said township Fiscal Officer Randy Gonzalez.

The department employs 71 full-time and 20 part-time firefighters/paramedics. In addition to the added ambulance and crew, the money will be used in a number of ways.

“The levy will be used to provide proper staffing, replace aged or worn out fire and paramedic equipment and for maintenance of five fire stations. Plus, it will be used to ensure the safety of families who live in the township,” Hogue said. “As your fire chief and through my career here, I have witnessed the evolution of this Fire Department and the development of Jackson Township for 44 years. The department has maintained and continues to service the needs with both with fire and emergency medical services. I am asking you to vote yes on Issue 11 so the fire department’s tradition of service to the Jackson Township community continues. Thank you for your past support and your continued support into the future of this community.”