MOUNT GILEAD — Fire Chief Chad Swank had plans to upgrade old equipment and increase wages for the village fire department.
But village residents voted down the proposed municipal income tax increase Aug. 3, by a margin of 22 votes.
They voted on a 0.25 percent levy increase on income for the fire department. Final tally among the four precincts was 127 against the levy, to 105 for it.
“It is very disappointing. I’d like a little bit of feedback from it actually to see what people would like from the department, instead of us trying to guess,” Swank said. “It is their department and they do fund us.”
Voter turnout was only 9.67 percent, according to final, unofficial numbers posted by the Morrow County Board of Elections.
Swank said his department was visible in the community at various events.
“I wanted to be out earlier, but Covid kind of got us and restricted to where we couldn’t be out, or events were canceled. I think timing might have been a little bit of the problem.”
That effort is continuing with a presence at the finish line of the recent “I Got The Shaft at The 5K Dash,” a 5K road race and fun walk.
The next step is yet to be determined, Swank said.
“We are regrouping. I’ll get with council shortly and discuss where we want to go, figure the budget and look at where we’re at and begin to look at what we can and can’t do.”
The department has an annual operating budget right of approximately $400,000.