CONNEAUT — An increase in Conneaut’s fire levy passed by more than 200 votes on Tuesday.
The 3-mills continuing levy passed, 1,373 to 1,127 votes, according to unofficial results.
The levy will pay for additional fire and EMS services.
The levy was last passed by 245 votes in 2014, when it was for 1.5 mills.
The levy will pay for three additional full-time firefighters in Conneaut, according to city officials. The new hires would bring the fire department up to four full-time firefighters on each shift.
Having four firefighters on each shift would allow the department to have two ambulances out on calls at the same time. Currently, there are three to four firefighters on staff, depending on the availability of part-time personnel, officials said in July.
Finding part-time firefighters is difficult, officials said at a meeting earlier this year.
“The problem is, these guys, right now, they’re doing the same thing I was doing when I was in their shoes and working part time: trying to get a full-time fire job somewhere,” Conneaut Fire Chief Steve Lee said at a meeting in June.
The levy is for a continuing period of time, meaning it will not come up for a vote in five years.
“It’s tied to personnel, so you don’t want to hire somebody and then five years down the road be letting them go because we didn’t renew the levy,” City Manager Jim Hockaday said in June.
Currently, if there are only three firefighters on duty, the department can only respond to one EMS call at a time, due to rules that require two people to go on EMS calls. If a second EMS call were to come in, the city has relied on mutual aid or calling in previous shifts, officials said in July.
The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $105 per year, and would raise around $320,000 per year for the city.