Yes. Ohio Revised Code grants authority to township trustees to establish all necessary regulations to guard against the occurrence of fires (O.R.C. 505.37). Fire protection measures can take many forms. Trustees may adopt fire code, authorize a fire chief to organize a volunteer fire company, enter fire protection contracts for service, or use their discretion to create a fire district of such portions of the township as they deem necessary.
Now that Northwestern Joint Fire District has been formally brought into existence, the Trustee Representatives will begin work on many items during 2020. One initiative is to host future townhall style meetings to inform the public and entertain questions. In the meantime, look for public meeting dates at http://www.northwesternfiredepartment.com.
No. Quite the opposite. This collaboration of Liberty, Taylor, and York Townships gives the department more security for the long term. The formation of this district allows us to depart from the revolving door of contract renewals. This reduces the risk of financial support leaving the station if a township should choose to contract for service elsewhere. The three townships are now in this together, sharing resources and talent for the good of Station 291. The department can now plan further down the road for improved service and the addition of fulltime personnel.
The good news is that the fire department is already funded as the Trustee Representatives begin the work of getting this district off the ground. Current fire levies within the participating townships will continue to be the revenue by which the department operates. So, in the immediate future there is no change to your taxes. A future operational levy will be brought forward by the district to REPLACE existing fire levies within the three townships. One advantage of a district is the creation of equal and fair cost burden across a greater geographical area. The lines between the three participating townships are essentially erased by the formation of the district. It is premature to use hard numbers for the future levy as your representatives will be weighing that decision over the coming year. The most accurate answer we can provide at this time is based on intention. The Trustees intend to keep tax rates the same or close to current rates for the district’s first levy.
Yes. Residents voice their approval or disapproval of the district in the voting booth, the same as they’ve done with any fire levy in the past. This will occur when a district levy is placed on the ballot.
The key benefit is the addition of fulltime staff for the first time in station history. Filling all positions for each shift guarantees every unit can respond when needed. Having fulltime personnel in the rotation will provide consistency and increased organization within the department, leading to greater quality of service. Other benefits include procuring Station 291 to exist for many years to come, equal cost sharing across a larger area, and now each participating township is represented when administrative decisions are made for the department. These benefits directly impact residents when the need for fire and EMS response occurs.