Weathersfield taxpayers should realize the bargain they are receiving in fire protection and support a 2.5-mill additional levy on the May primary ballot.
The all-volunteer fire department has 37 firefighters who are paid $10 per fire call, $10.50 for training and nothing for EMS calls. Most of the $258,000 annual budget, down from $325,000, is used to maintain equipment and the three stations, one owned by the Mineral Ridge Firefighters Association and another owned by the McKinley Heights Firefighters Association. Both associations were founded by and are controlled by citizens groups that want fire protection near.
Levy passage would mean about $41 more per year for every $100,000 in property value for taxpayers.
A levy failure could result in the township's inability to support one or two of the stations.
Any alternative - partnerships or contracts with neighboring departments - would have a considerably greater cost for the township since Weathersfield has an all-volunteer staff working for such little pay.