The following is an opinion piece written and submitted by Dover City Fire Department Chief Russ Volkert. To submit your news for consideration in our newsletter and on our website, click here.
by Russ Volkert
Dover City Fire Chief
On the March 15th primary ballot, the city of Dover is seeking to replace its current 3.6 mill operating levy with a 4 mill levy. This is a city issue, so it will not be voted on by township residents. However, it will have a vital impact on the citizens of Dover Township because slightly over 80% of the new money will be used to hire 6 firefighters, which will increase our staff by one third.
The current levy was voted into place in 1975 and has brought in the same amount of money since 1976. The main reason to add staff to the fire department is to provide enough on-duty staff to respond to two back-to-back or overlapping emergencies. As call volume has increased, the occurrence of these overlapping and subsequent calls has naturally increased. We have been tracking these trends for over 18 years. In 2015, out of 1,986 responses there were 142 times when we had calls come in within seconds or minutes of one another, and 48 times when another agency had to respond because we were tied up and not able to respond.
We are not alone in this dilemma: all area agencies are burdened with the same problem. It is vital that we take this major step to reduce the likelihood of being unavailable as – sooner or later – outside help will be coming from very far away if our primary backups are also tied up. The time is clearly here to address this issue.