Welcome to the Jackson Liberty Letter!

This website was designed to facilitate communication among the Liberty-minded patriots of Jackson Township in Clermont County Ohio. At a time when Big Government is intruding into every aspect of our lives, and the media promotes a liberal, Progressive agenda, we need to maximize every opportunity and use every tool at our disposal to disseminate the Truth about the events in our country and our community and to become educated in the foundational principles of the American republic. This is one of those opportunities.

Jackson Township Fire/EMS Levy – Is it a Good Idea?

We all want to feel secure in our homes and safe in the belief that if we have a fire, someone will come to put it out.  And, we are grateful that there are those among us who are called to come to the rescue when tragedy strikes.

But, does that mean voting for a tax increase for Fire/EMS services is the right thing to do?  Emergency services are legitimate functions of government, but does that mean any and all expenditures for those services are proper and reasonable?  Should a responsible taxpayer know how their money will be spent?

When it comes to our safety and well being, Emotion often rules; but let’s consider all the facts and arrive at a data-driven decision before we vote on this issue.

What is this Fire/EMS tax levy?

The Jackson Township Trustees have placed a 2.5 mill levy – an additional tax – for Fire/EMS on the November 4, 2014 ballot.  This is a continual tax levy (not a renewal levy), which means that it is a permanent tax increase.  It will never expire.

Currently, Jackson Township property owners pay $134.82 per $100,000 property valuation for just the Fire/EMS portion of their tax.  The additional tax would be $87.50 per $100,000 valuation.  This is a 64.9% increase in our Fire/EMS taxes.

What is the current overall property tax in Jackson Township?

This tax increase does not take place in a vacuum. It is just part of our overall property tax burden, so it is helpful to view it in that context.  There are two taxing districts in Jackson Township – CNE & Williamsburg School Districts.  Our overall tax covers county services, township services (including Fire/EMS), schools, and library:

Your Property Value(100% Appraised Value) Current Tax for Property in CNE School District* Current Tax for Property in Williamsburg School District*
$100,000 $1301 $1576
$125,000 $1626.25 $1970
$150,000 $1951.50 $2364
$175,000 $2276.75 $2758
$200,000 $2602 $3152
$225,000 $2927.25 $3546
$250,000 $3252.50 $3940
$275,000 $3577.75 $4334
$300,000 $3903 $4728

*Figures are “approximate” from Clermont County Deputy Auditor


How will the Fire/EMS Levy affect your taxes?

Your Property Value(100% Appraised Value) Current Tax for Fire/EMS Proposed Tax                                 Increase New Fire/EMS Tax if Levy Passes
$100,000 $134.82 $87.50 $222.32
$125,000 $168.52 $109.38 $277.90
$150,000 $202.22 $131.25 $333.47
$175,000 $235.93 $153.13 $389.06
$200,000 $269.64 $175.00 $444.64
$225,000 $303.34 $196.88 $500.22
$250,000 $337.04 $218.75 $555.79
$275,000 $370.75 $240.62 $611.37
$300,000 $404.46 $262.50 $666.96


How do our Fire/EMS taxes compare with the other townships in the county?

The taxes are listed from the highest tax per $100,000 to the lowest:

Township Cost per $100k Fire/EMS Tax Revenue* Parcels
Central Joint Fire & EMS (Batavia) 249.01 2,978,917 9,174
Stonelick 230.58 943,631 3,364
Monroe 227.12 876,865 3,192
Jackson if levy    passes 222.32 381,271 1,768
Franklin 219.56 365,559 2,799
Tate 216.72 1,104,620 5,644
Pierce 185.85 2,067,117 7,459
Wayne 185.22 442,175 2,610
Ohio 167.27 238,320 3,151
Williamsburg 135.14 484,748 3,586
Jackson 134.82 243,771 1,768
Goshen 114.03 976,599 6,214
Miami 102.69 3,592,484 16,741
Union 93.87 3,131,830 16,899
Washington 55.76 985,128 1,860

*Except for the “Jackson if levy passes” figures in red, these figures are for tax year 2013, payable in 2014, and show charged amounts, not collections.  With the proposed additional tax, Jackson’s tax would increase to $222.32, moving it above Franklin Township in the list. (The table does not reflect the 5-yr levy passed by Goshen in May 2014.)

How big is Jackson Township compared to the other townships in the county? 

Township Total Population* Housing Units*
Total Occupied Vacant
Union 46,416 20,098 18,617 1,481
Miami 40,848 15,668 14,785 883
Batavia 23,280 9,117 8,476 641
Goshen 15,505 6,019 5,629 390
Pierce 14,349 6,011 5,652 359
Tate 9,357 3,799 3,470 329
Monroe 7,828 3,126 2,809 317
Stonelick 5,890 2,478 2,329 149
Williamsburg 5,746 2,357 2,173 184
Ohio** 5,192 2,165 1,935 230
Wayne 4,885 1,902 1,769 133
Franklin 4,188 1,768 1,541 227
Jackson 2,980 1,123 1,059 64
Washington 2,278 933 839 94

*per 2010 census.

**Data for Ohio Township includes New Richmond, pop 2,582, which has its own Fire/EMS.

 What do the numbers tell us?

  • Jackson Township is a very small community – fewer than 3,000 residents with just over a thousand occupied housing units – and property owners pay a reasonable amount for Fire/EMS services when compared to the other townships county wide.
  • Jackson Township’s current cost per $100,000 is more than 240% greater than that of Washington Township, the smallest township in the county; yet Washington generates more than 4 times as much revenue in property taxes for Fire/EMS.  That is because Zimmer is located there and contributes significantly to the tax base.  Jackson does not have a large tax base.  (Washington has 2 manned stations.)
  • Jackson Township property owners currently pay over 40% more than those in Union Township, the largest township in the county; yet Union has almost 13 times as much revenue from property taxes for Fire/EMS as Jackson.   The population there is more than 15 times the population of Jackson, and they have a huge number of businesses.  (Union has 5 manned stations.)

According to a report by Goshen’s fire chief, in 2011-2012, Union Township is the busiest department in terms of number of calls, while Jackson Township is the least busy.  That makes sense given the data we’ve already seen.  Thus, not only is Jackson a very small community, it has a small demand for services.

Our current Fire/EMS services

Jackson Township has an all-volunteer fire department, and is, in fact, the only township in the county that does.  That is a source of pride for the department and the community. We do not, however, have our own EMS department.  We contract with neighboring townships for those services.  In 2013, those services were provided by Stonelick, Wayne, and Williamsburg Townships.  Stonelick decided not to renew the contract with Jackson beginning in 2014, so currently EMS services are contractually provided  by Wayne & Williamsburg Townships.  The contract is for 5 years beginning in January 2014.

The township is divided north and south by U.S. 50.  Wayne handles emergency medical service (EMS) runs for residences north of U.S. 50, while Williamsburg handles the runs south of U.S. 50.  For addresses on U.S. 50 itself, Wayne handles the calls west of 133; Williamsburg handles the calls east of 133.

Both Wayne and Williamsburg have paid Fire/EMS staff and are manned at their stations ready for dispatch during daytime hours M-F and on the weekend.  At night, EMS responders generally come from home, get the ambulance from the station, and leave for the call.  Wayne has a paramedic at the station 24/7 who is dispatched immediately in a first responder vehicle, and can precede the ambulance to the scene.  Wayne’s chief boasts a 7-min response time to the furthest point in Jackson Township’s area of coverage.

What prompted the decision to put a levy on the ballot?

When Stonelick Township decided not to renew their contract with Jackson Township at the end of 2013, it put the trustees in a very uncomfortable position. They were able to negotiate a new contract with Wayne & Williamsburg Townships, and the financial arrangement that was worked out was much more attractive than the previous contract, making it a win-win for all parties involved. One year’s notice is required to cancel the contract.

Despite the fact that all 3 trustees have said they think that the current arrangement we have for contracted EMS services is the best arrangement for Jackson Township,  they fear that in the future they could be put in a bad position, as they had been before.  That put the wheels in motion for planning to develop our own department.

Many options were explored, and they zeroed in on a plan to build a new fire house.  For the square footage requirements – including sleeping quarters, kitchen, workout room, etc – the estimate was for $1.4 million dollars.  Financial consultants told them that it would cost about $137,000 per year to finance such a project.  The county then advised them on how much millage would be needed to generate that amount, hence the 2.5 mill levy which is estimated to generate $137,500 per year.

Plans have not been finalized, and obviously cannot be finalized until the outcome of the levy is determined.  But the direction that the Township wants to go is clear from the research and planning that has already taken place.  If the levy passes, an expensive new building is on the horizon.  From the levy committee’s figures, building maintenance alone will increase by 74%.  And that could easily be the tip of the iceberg.

What about personnel costs?  They say we will continue to be a volunteer department.  But for how long?  Wayne Township’s EMS budget for personnel is nearly $400,000.  How could a community the size of Jackson Township afford that?  (Jackson volunteers, incidentally, do receive a small stipend of $10 per run, and the chief is paid $6,000 annually.)

Shared Services

In the current economic climate of the country, there is a push for consolidated and shared services.  Jackson Township has been ahead of the game in sharing services by contracting with neighboring townships.  Ohio Township, which is comparable in size to Jackson Township (excluding New Richmond  because they have their own fire department), contracts for both fire and EMS services from Pierce Township; so this is certainly a practice that is not foreign to the county.

What happens if you vote NO?

A NO vote will not change the service we are currently receiving.

A NO vote on the tax increase is not a vote against the members of our Fire & EMS team.  They are important to our safety and deserve our support.  We appreciate their service and admire their dedication.

We need to be realistic about the size and resources of the township.  As much as some might want a newer and bigger building and fire department, as a community we’re not big enough to build and sustain it.  We do, however, need to rally together as a community to make decisions  that will provide our township with the kind and level of services that we need and that we can afford.


Clermont County Republican Voting Guide

Pay particular attention to the judicial candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court because they are not marked on the ballot with party designation.  Take this guide to the poll with you to be sure.  The state legislature has passed some gun rights legislation that will probably be challenged in the courts.  We want conservative judges in those positions.

November 2014 Voting Guide



Jail or “Community Alternative Sentencing Center”

What happens when you elect an entrepreneurial businessman to political office?  You get creative problem solving and economic good sense.

That’s not necessarily true in every instance – but it certainly is the case with David_UibleClermont County’s business innovator, now county commisioner, David Uible.

Faced with the problems of a shortage of operational jail space, a high rate of heroine-related crime, a recidivism rate above 70%, and fiscal constraints, Uible began to explore a creative solution.  Having heard about Ohio legislation  which provided for alternative sentencing, and with previous knowledge of the success of  Talbert House in treating drug and alcohol addiction, his brain child was conceived.  Talbert House, located in Cincinnati, was instrumental in writing the legislation, and has been able to reduce recidivism rates to 20-30% among non-violent offenders that have gone through their non-residential program in Cincinnati.  For months Commissioner Uible has been exploring the idea of opening the south side of our Clermont County Jail as a Community Alternative Sentencing Center, referred to as a CASC.

A CASC would provide Municipal Court judges with another option in dealing with non-violent offenders who have an addiction problem, and who would otherwise be jail-bound.  The program would cost less than traditional jail, which currently exceeds $20,000/year per bed; and would include classes, treatment, and counseling to treat the addiction, and offer job and life skills training.  Offenders who meet the program criteria would be able to continue to go to work during the day and would return to the center for the night, attending classes and receiving counseling and coaching from professional psychologists and counselors.  The goal is rehabilitating the individual – breaking the cycle of addiction, reducing the chances of re-offending, and facilitating the return to society as a productive and contributing member.

A surprising number of heroine-related cases are seen in Clermont County courtrooms every day.  There is considerable concern over the trend across the county, and the destructive impact that drugs have on a community.  Judge George Pattison is positive about the CASC concept:

“The judges are totally in support of the program as we understand it….We feel that the commissioners are taking an important step forward.”

The south wing of the jail, which contains classrooms and recreational areas along with inmate housing, is currently closed because the county has not been able to afford to operate it.  An offender sentenced to a CASC can be charged a daily fee of $15 to help offset the expense to the county (a jail inmate cannot be charged.)

The county put out an RFP (Request for Proposal), and has received proposals from Talbert House and Clermont Recovery Center  to operate a CASC.  Proposals will be evaluated, and the agency that is selected would lease the facility, oversee and administer the program, and handle the finances.  The county would pay a per diem fee for each offender in the program.  A number of inmates currently housed in the traditional jail on the north side of the jail could qualify for the CASC, and could potentially be moved into the CASC, opening beds on the north side.  In addition, Warren and Butler counties have expressed interest in the program and their participation would lower the cost of operation, lowering the daily fee for Clermont County participants.  Uible estimates that the cost of the CASC could be half the cost of traditional jail,

“for non-violent drug addicts and alcoholics – to get them re-socialized, corrected, and back on the street earning a living and paying taxes.  It should reduce the recidivism rate; they won’t come back into jail as often and will become better citizens.”

The commissioners hope to reach a decision on proposals within the next couple of weeks.  If the plan continues as envisioned, it would be the first program of its kind in Ohio.