Voters pass Bath fire, road levies

Mar. 20—BATH TOWNSHIP — Voters approved the 2.5-mill additional levy to restore staffing and capital projects at the Bath Fire Department on Tuesday.

Unofficial results show voters supported the additional levy by a margin of 61% in favor to 39% against the levy, which will bring in nearly $750,000 a year in new revenue for the fire department.

"We are grateful for the support of our Bath Township community and appreciate their confidence and trust in our fire department," Bath Fire Chief Joseph Kitchen said in a press release. "These additional funds will allow us to continue to provide the excellent emergency services our residents have been accustomed to receiving. Additionally, it will ensure appropriate fire/EMS staffing, equipment and apparatus maintenance and procurement, as well as upkeep of our facilities."

The Bath Fire Department enacted budget cuts after voters narrowly rejected the same additional levy in November, reducing minimum staffing levels from four firefighter-paramedics per shift to two per shift as the department eliminated jobs.

Tuesday's win should allow the department to restore staffing and other programs, though it was unclear as of Tuesday night how soon those changes should be expected.

Budget cuts will remain in place for now, as new funds from the levy won't be realized until the end of Feb. 2025, Kitchen said in an email to The Lima News on Wednesday morning.

"We plan to work closely with the Bath Township trustees and fiscal officer to best allocate the funds we currently have to keep the department operating appropriately," Kitchen wrote. "We intend to do everything we can to start to restore services and programs as our finances allow."

The 1-mill additional levy for Bath roads won by a smaller margin of 55% in favor and 45% opposed, according to unofficial results from the Allen County Board of Elections, which will certify results later this month.

"It's very important that our fire staff is appropriately funded so they can protect our communities and have proper staffing," said Jennifer Whitehead, who voted yes for both levies Tuesday. "I felt that the levy for the roadways was important as well, so we can have proper infrastructure kept up."


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