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Fire Levy Information and Calculator

City Council passed a Resolution to submit a 6-mill property tax levy for the May 8, 2018, primary election ballot to provide fire suppression and emergency medical services. If approved by the voters, this levy would provide needed funds for staffing and equipment for the Montgomery Fire Department through the year 2030.

For more information, please contact Chief Paul Wright at 985-1639 or pwright@montgomeryohio.org or Assistant Chief Ben Shapiro at 985-1631 or bshapiro@montgomeryohio.org.

Accident Scene in downtown Montgomery

The ballot language is confusing? I’ve heard conflicting information about how much the levy will affect my property taxes?

Levy ballot language can be confusing. A levy is not calculated on your home’s appraised market value (the amount you may sell your house for). A levy is calculated on your home’s assessed valuation (35% of Market Value). Where the ballot mentions “valuation,” it is referring to assessed valuation. You can learn what your actual property tax impact will be by visiting property tax calculator provided below.

I heard that the City receives a small portion of my property taxes. How much does the City receive?

The City of Montgomery receives 14% of your property tax. This includes the existing fire levy. Sycamore Community Schools receives 56.3%, all other levies (not including the fire levy) receive 25.9%, and Hamilton County receives 3.8%

To find out your propery tax contribution to the City general fund and the existing fire levy, you can use the City property tax calculator provided below.

I heard that a TIF could fund the replacement of fire department vehicles instead of a levy. Green Township did it.

Local governments may authorize Incentive District TIFs to fund public infrastructure needs including public roads and highways, water and sewer lines, remediation, land acquisition, demolition, the provision of gas, electric, and communications service facilities, and the enhancement of public waterways. Public infrastructure does not include police or fire equipment for Incentive Districts TIFs created after March 30, 2006, and no Incentive District TIF service payments collected in such Districts may be used for such purposes. Green Township was able to purchase emergency vehicles because they extended a TIF that existed before 2006.

What is the current operating levy for the Fire Department?

The Montgomery Fire Department is currently operating with a 5.55-mill fire levy that was approved in May of 1999. The levy was projected to last 10 years; however, through careful budgeting and stewardship of these funds, the fire department was able to sustain operations on this generated amount to date.

The levy passed in 1999 is a static dollar amount and is not permitted to increase with a growth in property valuation as a result of reassessment.  Maintaining that fixed dollar amount over time for a levy is accomplished through a process that effectively reduces the millage rate over time.  This reduction factor ensures the original levy amount does not increase as property values escalate.

Why is an additional levy needed?

The Montgomery community has grown with additional homes and businesses, and this growth has increased the number of fire and emergency medical service responses made by the department. This growth has increased the department’s reliance on mutual aid from surrounding fire departments for secondary fire and emergency medical response. Relying on part-time personnel to fully staff the fire department is becoming increasingly difficult, not just locally, but nationally. The additional 6.0-mill levy would allow the fire department to switch to a full-time staff in order to respond to increased service demands.

Why is there an emphasis on the need for a full-time staffed department?

Nationally and regionally, the fire service is undergoing a shortage of part-time personnel and experienced candidates. In the 24 years that the City has operated the department, it has primarily utilized part-time employees to staff and handle emergencies and conduct the operations of the department.

There are currently 9 full-time staff and 35 part-time staff in the department.

Will the funds from the levy go to purchase new trucks and other equipment?

Trucks and equipment are capital items and are allowable expenses that can be included and funded with levy revenues.  The benefit of this approach is transparency. The City and residents can easily identify the true cost of operating the fire department by capturing all related costs in the fire fund and not subsidizing related costs with another funding source, such as the General Fund.

Does the Fire Department bill for EMS responses?

The Montgomery Fire Department does bill non-residents for EMS responses. Residents are not billed. Approximately $180,000 is collected annually.

Since the inception of the City’s own public fire department in 1994, demand for EMS services has increased by 45 percent. The City anticipates increased service demands with the expansion of Twin Lakes Senior Living Community, the Vintage Club, Bethesda North Hospital, and the eventual development of the Gateway Redevelopment Area.

Since 1999 and the passage of the 5.55-mill levy, Montgomery has seen increased development in the Reserve of Montgomery, the Vintage Club, Orchard Trail, Twin Lakes Senior Living Community, Gateway Center East and West, Audi Connection, CVS, and a large patient tower at Bethesda North Hospital. The number of housing units has increased from 3,716 to 4,055 since 1999.

The City anticipates more development at the Vintage Club, Bethesda North Hospital, and the Gateway Redevelopment Area.  This anticipated development will add additional office, retail and residential options to the city.

The city has seen an increase in the senior population since 2000. Montgomery has a larger percentage of seniors than the state of Ohio or Hamilton County. The increase in the senior population may also be attributed to homeowners wanting to ‘age in place’ and stay in their home as long as they are able.

The City of Montgomery experiences increased service demands more than most local communities due to several major highways and arterial roadways being located within the jurisdictional boundaries, including I-71, I-275, Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway and Montgomery Road.

City of Montgomery Fire Department Budget Forecast, 2020‐2030

The additional 6 mills will generate $3,459,804 per year as certified by the County. The millage is necessary to cover the operating and capital costs of the department, which includes the transition to a full-time fire department.

In the early years of the levy, the City will collect more revenue than it spends on budgeted expenditures. This is normal, as, over time, the levy revenues will become relatively static throughout the levy’s projected time span and may only change slightly as new homes are built. The City starts out with what appears to be excess revenues; however, towards the end of the levy, the expenses will exceed the annual revenues. The City must support those latter expenditures with the carryover revenue accumulated in the early years. The graph below will assist with conceptualizing this progression.

Note: The increase in the above 2023 budget reflects a
$1.2 million capital equipment purchase.

Owner NameAssessed Value
Twin Lakes$12,643,867
Ohio National Financial Service Inc.$9,967,760
Duke Energy Ohio Inc. c/o Tax Dept.$6,730,700
Bethesda Properties Inc.$5,830,680
Bethesda Hospital Inc.$5,279,210
The Myers Y Cooper Co.$3,899,980
Bethesda Healthcare Inc.$3,591,790
Columbia Oldsmobile Company$2,799,330
Duke Energy Ohio Inc.$2,356,180
High Country Health Care$2,096,950

Note: Excludes tax-exempt property. Based on assessed value, not fair market value.

How will the levy impact my taxes?

Fire Levy Calculator

How do I find my home’s market value?

  1. Visit the Hamilton County Auditor’s website.
  2. In the Street Address Criteria box, enter your address number in the first House # Range field then enter your street name.
    Auditor street entry form
  3. Copy the amount from the Market Total Value column and enter it into the fire levy calculation form.
    Market Total Value

How much property tax do I currently pay to the City?

Fire Levy Calculator - City Breakdown

How do I find the property tax amount that I pay to the City semi-annually?

  1. While logged on to the Hamilton County Auditor’s website, click “Tax Distributions” in the menu under I Want To…
  2. Copy the amount next to City/Village and enter it into under “How much property tax do I currently pay to the City?”
    How much property tax do I pay to the City?