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Dean DePiero APRIL 2009 Newsletter

Dear DeanDePiero.com Visitor:

How would you like to make a positive difference in the quality of life for residents in our community? It's a simple question with dramatic consequences if your answer is "yes."

I am asking voters in Parma to approve a five-year, 1.5-mill property tax renewal levy that pays for the maintenance and purchase of firefighter equipment and buildings, as well as salaries and the city's contribution to the firefighters' pension fund.

It will not raise your taxes, but it could save your life. The slogan is absolutely true. The levy was originally approved in 1994, generating $1.7 million annually. That amounts to about 15 percent of the total fire budget, costing residents approximately $32 a year for each $100,000 of residential or commercial property owned. I would say that's a pretty good deal.

The Parma Fire Renewal Levy is Issue 8 on the May 5 primary ballot. It will maintain the excellent quality of emergency service residents have come to expect. I'm confident you will give two thumbs-up to the levy renewal, but I have to admit a levy defeat would affect staffing, training and the operation of the city's five fire stations. Parma has 102 firefighters. In 2008, the department made approximately 9,000 EMS calls. As you can see, we have one of the busiest fire departments in the region.

Parma Fire Chief John French says in recent years, the levy funds have been used to purchase fire trucks and other essential equipment. This year, though, he sees passage as necessary to just keep up with the department operation. Chief French also says department officials seek grant funding and donations to help offset costs, but depend heavily on the levy funding.

Our fire department has an excellent reputation among residents, other fire professionals and the area's medical community. Parma Safety Director Gregory Baeppler says Parma is viewed as a leader in the region. In fact, he says the department meets National Incident Management Standards, and has reached out to other area fire departments for training and mutual response in an effort to better serve the community.

Our community needs your help. That's why I am asking you to vote yes on Issue 8. The city's main focus remains on safety and getting enough people on scene during the early stages of an emergency. Passage of the renewal levy is very important in order to keep a high level of service during fires and other emergency situations.

It's all about quality of life, and thanks to you we are doing a great job in helping our neighbors in need. I would like to thank you in advance for supporting our Parma Firefighters by voting yes on Issue 8. As I have said before, together we will remain a united, economically strong and close knit community.

Dean DePiero
Mayor of Parma

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