Friday, October 20, 2017

In Support of the Emergency Communications Levy from Greenville Township Emergency Services Officers

On November 7, 2017 Darke County Residents are being asked to support a levy for an emergency communication system for all of Darke County. The communication system as well as the levy affects every emergency responder in Darke County. Every Police Department, EMS Department and Fire department uses the communication system and every department regardless of their discipline will be adversely affected if this levy fails.

The current VHF system is at the end of its life. Meaning that upgrading it or maintaining the system is either financially unfeasible or it is not possible due to the unavailability of parts. The current system also isolates Darke County from its neighbors and from the state. VHF Systems are rare and this is due to the reasons stated previously. By switching to a MARCs (800/700 MHZ) System, which is the most commonly used public safety radio system, Darke County along with all of the Emergency departments inside of Darke County will be able to communicate with almost anyone (Region wide, State wide and with our neighbors to the west) in the event of a disaster.
The Darke County Sheriff’s Office, the County Commissioners and all of the public safety services have worked tirelessly to make the current system work for as long as possible and no one has taken this decision lightly. Over the past 3 years a committee, comprised of representatives from the various public safety services (police, fire, EMS), the various government entities, (County, cities, townships) along with EMA and the LEPC, have been meeting to determine the best course of action. After numerous meetings, studying multiple options and multiple systems it was unanimously determined that the VHF System was no longer maintainable and that the MARCs System will serve the residents of Darke County the best for years to come.

With the determination that the VHF System is no longer a tenable option the switch to a MARCs System becomes inevitable. The passage of the proposed levy would provide tremendously important financial relief to the public safety agencies in Darke County. The levy will provide a sustainable revenue source specifically earmarked for public safety communication. This means that portable radios, mobile radios, pagers, MARC’s user fees and other necessary equipment will be purchased for the various EMS, Fire and Police departments in Darke County. If the levy fails the financial burden will fall back onto each individual department. This burden may be too much for even the heathiest department and emergency responses may be jeopardized.

The Darke County Communication Committee determined that a .45 mill permanent levy would be sufficient. This will generate approximately $500,000 annually and cost a residential tax payer $15.75 per year per $100,000 of valuation. Again this money is earmarked and can only be used for emergency communications.

We encourage all residents of Greenville Township as well as all of the residents of Darke County to Vote Yes for the Emergency Communications Levy on November 7th.

Greenville Township Emergency Services Officers:

Steve Wenning
Kenneth Stiefel
Aaron Ward
Brian Phillips

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