Orange Township trustees are demanding residents pass a 7.8-mill levy.

To the Editor:

Orange Township trustees are demanding residents pass a 7.8-mill levy. On millage alone it is a 56 percent increase. The levy is written to always collect $8 million annually regardless of property value. Liberty Township fire has a proposed levy of only 6.4 mills.

The fire department has free health care at a cost of over three-quarters of a million dollars yearly and paid pensions of over $1 million a year. Don't expect our current trustees to change it as they have free health care at the expense of the township and a trustee is a part-time job. I was employed by the state of Ohio and I can assure you I always paid my fair share.

Contract negotiations are scheduled to commence after the levy, which will allow the chief and assistant chief to handle the negotiations. Passage of the levy will be a blank check for the employee's raises and anything on the wish list for the chief. Liberty Township firefighters contribute to their health care and only have a 6.4-mill levy on the ballot.

The chief allows employees to drive expensive fuel-guzzling fire trucks and medics all over the township to eat several times during the 24-hour shifts. Fire stations have state-of-the-art kitchens -- why don't they plan better? The three fire inspectors have take-home vehicles at our expense as the chief thinks they might be called out. According to the website, the chief and assistant chief enjoy vehicles for personal use because they are on call, but they live over 35 miles away. The majority of the miles driven in a year are for commuting.

I am not against the department and will support it at a reasonable cost, but not on this levy. I offer another alternative. Let the trustees come back with an affordable levy collecting at 5 mills.

I urge you to vote "no" on the levy and force the trustees back to the drawing board. The chief has reported there will be a $1.2 million carryover into 2013, so it is not like we won't have a fire department.

Randall Meek
Orange Township