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Paramedic Levy: 'Safety Issue,' Says Mayor

After recent levy failure, mayor says safety too important.

This is the first in a two-part series concerning Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka's State of the City address. Check back to find out City Hall proposals on what will be cut if the paramedic levy fails. 

Avon Lake voters might not have to vote for a paramedic levy in the future. 

Mayor Greg Zilka, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"city-of-avon-lake-city-government"} -->, in his State of the City address on Sept. 13, said he will be recommending to City Council that all funds for the paramedic/fire department come out of the General Fund, and the city not have to rely on a Paramedic Levy for partial financing the at the

Dave September 17, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Set your priorities, not a bad idea. However why doesn't it surprise me that what they will ask us to pass is MORE expensive than the paramedic levy??
Lori E. Switaj September 17, 2012 at 05:14 PM
To clarify, this is a suggestion for down the road... not the immediate future. The mayor did stress that it is critical to the city that the levy pass in November. (See tomorrow's article for potential cuts should the levy fail again.)
George Z September 17, 2012 at 05:31 PM
If we reject said levy -- why would services go down? They still have the 1.25 coming in to pay the existing staffing levels. If we pass - we'd adding more FF/Paramedics. At $135k per FF (1.073M / 8) - are we hiring doctors to fight fires? Does every person really need to me paramedic certified (2 - 3 people per truck?). What am I missing?
Lori E. Switaj September 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM
This is not an additional 2-mills coming in. This would replace the previous levy and add another .75 mills. If the levy fails, the 1.25-mill collection is also eliminated. That levy expires this year. If approved, the 1.25 would continue. With the increase it would cost a total of $61 annually per $100,000 home valuation. Presently, residents pay approximately $38 per $100,000 of home valuation annually on the current levy.
John Shondel September 17, 2012 at 06:07 PM
In response to George's two questions: 1. If the EMS Levy, Issue 10 fails on November 6, we will have -0- money from an EMS Levy beginning January 1, 2013. 2. All 29 members of the Avon Lake Fire Department are fully qualified Emergency Medical Specialists as well as fully qualified Firefighters. By being fully cross-trained, the personnel on duty at at any time can react quickly regardless of the nature of the call to 911. This is the most effective way to keep the on-duty staff at a minimum.
Jeff September 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Quote: The current 1.25-mill paramedic levy brings in $1.073 million annually and pays for eight firefighters, equipment, training, and overtime for the entire department. So it's not really $135k per FF salary, since it's including equipment, training and overtime costs (I'm sure for more than 8 people)
terry September 17, 2012 at 07:36 PM
i am afraid that for many people, the issue is not the value of the levy or the importance of a well-funded fire/ems organization- the problem is bottom line cost. though this levy would not necessarily cause an undue financial burden, there is also the peospect of a very large school levy looming. add to that the uncertainty regarding the extension of the Bush administration tax cuts, among other things, and the financial hit to many becomes overwhelming. i have never voted against a schhol levy, but may have to this time because there is just not enough money in my budget to cover these added tax costs.
Tim Allen September 19, 2012 at 01:46 PM
THERE IS NO MORE MONEY!!! People are broke, many without jobs, what a joke that are homes are way overvalued by the county and we are paying high taxes on over valued homes. That's another big problem. Think about it? all these extra things are great, but if you don't have the money, do what everyone else is doing, live with it.
Richard D September 20, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Mr shondel thank you for taking the tile to read and answer the questions of your constituents. Your answers reflect your working knowledge of the city's departments. You should be commended, and the other members of council should be embarrassed. I hope you will continue to research the subject of the levy and report your findings. A very important question was asked by George Z regarding the levy money stopping entirely if the levy fails. Im glad you pointed out that if the levy fails we willcbe reducing the money fornthe program to nothing. Thank you for pointing this out.
John Shondel September 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM
In response to Richard D, thank you for your kind words. I am a firm believer in the saying, " When everyone at the table has all the accurate facts, they generally reach the same conclusion". I see my role as a Councilman is to know all the facts surrounding an issue and to be able to explain them to any citizen that has questions. With the ending of the 1.25 mil Levy in 2012 and reduction in funds for the AL City General Fund from the State of Ohio, the City cannot fund the Fire & EMS services from the General Fund without the passage of Issue 10 on November 6, 2012 to provide 1.6 Million of the 4.0 Million total cost of the Fire Department.
AvonLaker1234 September 21, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Thank you for your informational post. Why can't the city look to form fire/EMS alliances or districts with neighboring communities? Seems like the potential economies-of-scale is being ignored to maintain the status quo. We need new business funding models and strong leadership to push through real ways to save.
Ronald Baker September 21, 2012 at 02:09 AM
The city did look into a regional approach to fire and ems service. The result was published on this website. The reason they chose not to proceed was it would cost more money than current expenses would mean instead of three ambulances we would have one. Bay village would be covered by our one ambulance during nights. So in summary it would cost more and give us less. Im one resident that is glad avon lake did look into it, and decide against it. When cities share services it generally works out good fornthe cities in the worst financial state. That is who generally pushes the idea
AvonLaker1234 September 21, 2012 at 02:12 AM
So we'll just need to wait till our finances crap-out too and then _____________? Shocking how all these ideas work elsewhere but never can work in Avon Lake or NE Ohio.
Ronald Baker September 21, 2012 at 02:25 AM
The good ideas work here. For example i believe the fire department just recently regionalized thier dispatch operations with the county. I saw in the avon lake press that the move will be like adding three people to the department with no additional personnel costs. It does make sense to regionalize with entities that have equal or more services than you do. But it makes horrible sense to share services with cities that have less service than you do. Did you ever hear of averages? If for example avon lake has three ambulances and we share services with a city that has one. Then we effectively have 2 ambulances for us. Im pretty sure the county has more money in its dispatch operation than avon lake, so in this case it works out good.
Concerned Avon laker October 05, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Dear avonlaker1234 (aka Noah Webster) Your talking nonsense! Why should we trust your judgement over he professional opinions of our fire chief or the officials that we elected to handle these things for us? What are your qualifications? How about you run for council or mayor then you can come up with these crazy ideas. In the meantime I will trust my elected officials until such time as I feel they are not looking out for my beat intwrests at which time I will vote them out. But since we have the greater city ever it won't be soon.

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