Residents in Gahanna and the unincorporated areas of Mifflin Township will vote on a 3.8-mill levy to support the Mifflin Township Fire Department in November.

Residents in Gahanna and the unincorporated areas of Mifflin Township will vote on a 3.8-mill levy to support the Mifflin Township Fire Department in November.

The fire department provides fire service to the city of Gahanna, along with the unincorporated areas of the township.

The Mifflin Township trustees July 20 voted to place the levy on the Nov. 2 ballot. If approved, the levy will generate $3.8-million annually for the fire department, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office. It would cost homeowners about $116.38 more annually for each $100,000 of assessed property valuation.

The levy is the fire department's first request for additional millage since 2004, when voters approved a 6-mill replacement levy plus an additional 1 mill. Voters also approved a 3-mill replacement levy in 2008, deputy fire chief Fred Kauser said.

"The intent (of the 2008 levy) was to hold us over" until this year, he said. "It didn't constitute a full request on our part."

Kauser said revenue from the November levy would be used to sustain current operations, improve EMS service, replace equipment as needed and keep up with inflation on such overhead costs as fuel and utilities.

"We can't stop buying fuel and EMS and medical supplies," he said. "This (levy) will allow us to catch up."

The fire department has a current annual budget of about $9.5-million, with 73 career firefighters and officers on staff at four stations. The department serves about 40,000 residents, most of them in the city of Gahanna.

Kauser said Mifflin Township ranks 18th of about 1,300 townships in Ohio in terms of population. The fire department has averaged about 7,800 runs per year during the past three years, with about 5,500 EMS, rescue or auto-accident runs and the remainder fire-related runs.

"We are a very busy organization," he said.

Despite being so busy, Kauser said, the fire department is "exceptionally lean" in administration, with only himself, fire chief Jim DeConnick and two fire inspectors.

"That means 97 percent of our staff is in the field delivering service," he said.

Kauser said he and township officials are very proud of the service the fire department provides and believe residents would be supportive.

"We have performed exceptionally well with the tax dollars the community has provided," he said. "We want to stand before them and be accountable. We want to hear from them."

Any group that wants to hear about the fire levy may schedule a visit by calling Karen Smith at (614) 471-0542 or by e-mailing ksmith@miftwp.org.

"We understand residents are facing several levies and will have to make choices," Kauser said, referring to the Gahanna schools levy and an 8.8-mill police levy that will be on the ballot for residents in the unincorporated areas of the township.