While working to find ballot measures around the country, Firefighters and EMS Fund learned of a fire levy renewal being held in Jerome Township Ohio. Here is what Jerome Fire Chief Douglas Stewart had to say about his experience working with Firefighters and EMS Fund:
We started with a budget analysis back in 2017 and 2018. From that point we conducted an analysis of the service area to determine where the growth and a need for more resources would be. We developed a strategic plan with the input from more than 20 different citizens and every firefighter. In March-April 2019 a strategic plan was adopted by the trustees which led to the levy being put on the ballot in August of 2019. We did some fundraising with local developers as well as our personal contributions from people in the town. The levy failed last year by 195 votes, however at the same time we were fortunate enough to be awarded a SAFER grant by FEMA and hire 9 new firefighters. A new fire levy was approved by the trustees and was put on the ballot at 3.5 mills instead of 5.5 mills. With this new round of fundraising, very few contributions came from the developers unlike before. Most of the contributions came from the state firefighter’s union and the pockets of our firefighters. That levy didn’t pass. We ended up going back to the drawing board given that we hired 9 firefighters, we had to develop a plan to keep them on the job. We needed a levy to pass. We decided to put a levy on the ballot in July 2020. When we were contacted by the Firefighters and EMS fund, we were very skeptical at first because we had never heard of it. We did some background research, I reached out to some other fire executives and some departments you had helped in the past. Nobody is knocking on our door to provide us funding to pass our fire levy. Working with Firefighters and EMS Fund has been a pretty smooth process. Every step of the way you have had good communication. You have kept me abreast of the advertisements and followed through on your commitment. Other towns have been reaching out to us to get references. It is not only a good opportunity for us, but other departments. We have been able to get extra door hangers, radio advertisements, digital adds, and text ads. This past weekend we attended a food truck event, a gentleman told me he already voted yes. He literally had no questions because of the information he got from mail, text messages, and Facebook ads. He was able to validate all the information. We were simply able to reach people we have not been able to reach before.
We were fortunate to have the Firefighters and EMS fund support our Fire Levy. Our Levy passed and we feel it was because of the extra help we had.