Franklin Township, OH Local 1441 President Ron Delozier plans to run 35 miles on November 4 to remind and encourage voters to vote yes on Issue 35, a fire levy that will raise the money needed to fund the Franklin Township Fire Department and prevent the layoffs of six to 12 fire fighters.
“There are approximately 35 paved miles in Franklin Township, so I thought, what better way to bring attention to this important public safety issue than to run every road of the Township on Election Day?” says President Delozier.
The Franklin Township was counting in the funding it needs as part of annexation deal with Hollywood Casino and the City of Columbus. The casino was built on land Columbus annexed from the Township, which led to a four-year dispute over how much the City and the Township should each get of the $4.6 million in income taxes generated annually by the casino.
The two sides finally agreed that the Township should receive about $750,000 annually. However, because of bureaucratic issues, the Township has only received about a fifth of what was promised.
Therefore, fire fighters have been working to pass a 5.12 mill levy to maintain the current level of service. The cost would translate to about $10.50 a month.
The levy failed to pass in May 2013 and November 2013. November 4 will be the last opportunity before the Township government says it will be forced to make.
Local 1441 members say the cuts would result in significant public safety risks, including the closure of an engine company or fire station and an increase in response times by at least three minutes.
To preserve public safety, Franklin Township Local 1441 members launched a campaign to educate the public of the dangers of not passing the levy and to encourage them to get out and vote.
Delozier’s 35 mile run is part of the campaign, but he will not be running alone. Other Local 1441 members and citizens have pledged to join him on legs of his run. However, he will be the only one running the full 35 miles.
“I ran an ultramarathon in June. Since then, I haven’t done any runs longer than eight miles because I have been focused on this campaign,” says Delozier. “Still, I am optimistic that I will complete the full 35 miles before the polls close.”
Follow his run on Twitter at #35for35.