Fire district wants input in planning process

Larry Limpf

The Allen-Clay Joint Fire District is asking for community input as it plans for the future.
The district is asking residents in its service area to complete a questionnaire that asks respondents to rate the department’s fire and emergency medical service if they’ve received a service and what would be an acceptable response time for a 9-1-1 or non-emergency call in the future.
The survey also asks on a scale of 1 to 10 for residents to separately rate the importance of how quickly fire trucks arrive on scene, the appearance of vehicles and uniforms of firefighters, safety of firefighters while on the job, training of firefighters, the ability to respond to every service call, and support for a tax increase to hire more firefighters.
The survey also includes space for respondents to voice their concerns or suggestions for the department.
Michael Musolf, fire chief, said the department will also host a series of public meetings in the coming weeks to gather public input.
“During this phase, we will identify key areas that may need attention and develop objectives and goals to better the service we provide you,” he writes in a letter accompanying the surveys.
The meetings are tentatively scheduled to start the first week of December, the chief said last week.
Flyers will be distributed with the dates and times of the meetings.
Residents interested in taking part in the sessions should contact the chief by email at: to be added to the contact list.
“We’ve received a fairly good response so far,” chief Musolf said. “Rudy Ruiz, of Resource Management Consultants, is assisting us with this. He said he would like to keep it to about 50 participants. We’re looking for people interested in helping us steer where we go in the future. It’s a way to ask some questions and see what kind of feedback we get from the community. We could sit here and plan and say we want to do this and hire a number of people and put a levy on. If people say no then all that planning was for naught.”
The district is funded by a 5-mill, continuous property tax levy. It was formed in 2000 with the voter-approved merger of the Clay-Genoa, Clay Center and Allen Township fire departments.
“We’re pretty proud of the fact that we’ve been fiscally responsible and haven’t had to go back and ask for a replacement levy (based on updated valuations) since 2009,” the chief said. “But we are getting close to that point. Going through this process is going to help identify where we are at financially and where we need to go. For example, staffing issues. It’s not an Allen-Clay problem, it’s not a Northwest Ohio problem, it’s not a fire service problem. It’s everywhere now. You just can’t find people.”
He estimated the department’s current roster at about 78, including 10 or so support personnel who are retired but still assist with operating radios and other duties.
Chief Musolf said the initial phase of the planning process began with a revamping of the department’s mission statement. The new statement reads: “Provide service with integrity.”
Survey forms can be printed from the department website or answered online. The link is


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