2008-01-19 / News

Fire/EMS costs increasing for Union Township

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON- Union Township may be looking at paying $1,000 per emergency service run in the northern part of the township. During the Jan. 21 trustees' meeting, Trustee Jack Justice intends to recommend that the township pay the Granville Township Fire Department, which provides emergency service to areas of Union Township north of the CSX Railroad line, $50,000 per year for service. The Granville Township Fire Department makes about 50 runs per year into Union Township. In 2007, Union Township purchased this service from Granville Township for the annual fee of $18,000. Prior to 2007, the annual fee was $14,000 per year since 2000.

"Fifty-thousand dollars seems to be the minimum acceptable," said Justice. "That's the recommendation I intend to make."

Granville Township Fire Chief Jeff Hussey conducted an analysis of his department's current needs and sent a letter at the end of last year to the trustees stating that he will likely seek an increase in cost over the 2007 contract.

The reason, said Hussey, is that the other townships contracting with Granville Township are paying significantly more for service than Union Township and it's important to him that all contracts are fair. Also, the cost of running his department is increasing.

In 2007, Granville Township residents paid 4.031 mills (effective) and McKean Township residents paid 4.195 mills (effective). In comparison, Union Township residents paid 3.06 mills (effective) for fireprotection.

"We very much want to have that contract with Union Township," said Hussey. "It's about being fair to everyone." He said he met with the trustees during a Dec. 26 trustees' meeting and the trustees attended a Granville Township Fire Department meeting on the same day. Hussey extended Union Township's old contract into January to give both parties time to negotiate.

Previously, Hussey said he's taken particular interest in the subject of buying and selling contractual services. In fact, he said, he is writing an applied research project for the Ohio Fire Chief's Executive Fire Officerprogram on the subject. "It is very important to the Granville Township Trustees, fiscal officer,and myself to continue having an excellent working relationship with Union Township as we develop a new agreement for 2008 and beyond," Hussey wrote in the letter he sent to the Union Township Trustees. "In reviewing past fireprotection agreements, it is apparent that the fees for service have remained static for many years." And, he said, the service area is evolving from a rural to a residential area. In the past year, Hussey said the firedepartment hired additional full-time staffing and purchased several new vehicles.

In his letter to the trustees, Hussey presented three potential methods of charging Union Township for emergency service, which would've cost Union Township anywhere from $63,000 to $150,000 per year.

Justice commented that the Hebron Fire Department, to whom Union Township also contracts, may be requesting a price increase as well.

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