The goal of the open houses, Fire Chief Paul Lolli said, was to provide residents with information so they can “make good decisions and show them the conditions and why it is important for us to work and to let us be housed in a safe and healthy environment”.

If Middletown residents reject the tax next month, city officials have said the city could impose an income tax hike that would require a 1/8 of 1% increase for at least 15 years; cut the general fund budget by more than $800,000 a year by reducing the number of public security employees; build a fire station every five or six years, which would roughly double the final cumulative cost total; or not replacing fire stations.

In a campaign letter from Frank Baughman, president of the Middletown Firefighters Association, he said Middletown firefighters are “very proud” to serve the citizens of the community.

“While we always respond to cries for help, we now find ourselves in a position to ask for your help,” he wrote.

He said the aging fire stations did not meet codes for fire alarm systems, extinguishing systems and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, among others.

The stations also lack housing for female firefighters, which “prevents being a diverse and inclusive service”, he said.

The fire department hired its only female firefighter, Celine Schank, in February.

Baughman also said extensive cancer research in firefighters has shown that station design plays “a major role” in limiting exposure to harmful carcinogens. Today’s fire stations are designed to keep these carcinogens out of the living space. Middletown stations offer none of these features, according to Baughman.


FOUR PROPOSED FIRE BOXES

  • New Fire Headquarters location replacing 1.38 acre site on Roosevelt Boulevard: A 3.6 acre site at Yankee Road and Cherry Street owned by the city, acquired from Middletown City Schools and former site of Garfield School. Area: 24,300 square feet. Cost: $7,168,500.
  • Location of station #81 replacing the 0.28 acre site on Clinton Street: A 2.85 acre site on Henry Avenue and Charles Street owned by the city, acquired from Middletown City Schools and former site of the Jefferson School. Area: 10,200 square feet. Cost: $3,009,000
  • Location of station #85 replacing the 0.86 acre site at Central Avenue and Breiel Boulevard: A 2-acre parcel on Sophie Avenue and Stolz Drive encompassing the undeveloped southern portion of city-owned Dowling Park. Area: 10,200 square feet. Cost: $3,009,000.
  • Site #82 replacing the 0.88 acre site on the Dixie Highway: A 2.7-acre site at Ohio 122 and Atrium Boulevard acquired from Premier Health/Atrium Medical Center. Area: 11,800 square feet. Cost: $3,481,000.

SOURCE: City of Middletown

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