New Champaign fire district unlikely

Local governments paid $20,000 for study.


Champaign County community leaders considering a proposed new fire district offered the general consensus that now is not the time for it.

“It’s unaffordable for us at this point in time,” Mechanicsburg Mayor Greg Kimball said last week. “Unless there is tangible benefit (residents) can see, they won’t want to pay extra taxes for it.”

Last year Urbana Twp., Goshen Twp., Salem Twp., Union Twp., and Mechanicsburg agreed to pay $20,000 to the Ohio Fire Chiefs Association to study the creation of a new fire district. Costs for services are rising in Champaign County and statewide, said Matt DeTemple, executive director of the Ohio Township Association.

The association created a lengthy report with different options for the county, but all options involved raising taxes. Most of the townships currently tax 4 mills for fire and EMS services. Most proposed plans would raise the property tax to 5.5 or 6.5 mills.

“Changing the system was going to increase their fire millage, and they didn’t think the community was going to accept that,” Urbana Township Trustee Lewis Terry said.

Urbana Township currently gets fire and EMS services from the city of Urbana. Those costs have risen from $67,000 in 2010 to $214,000 in 2014.

Kimball would like to have the Champaign County commissioners get involved in the issue.

The city uses income taxes to support fire and EMS services, while townships use property taxes.

“I think fire and EMS services need to be looked at a higher level of government to bring some symmetry to what they are doing, because every department operates independent from the rest of them,” Kimball said. “I would like the county commissioners get actively involved in this and look at doing a countywide EMS service.”

The fire department’s representatives tentatively planned a public forum to discuss the results of the fire district study and get community input on fire and EMS services.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Woman used dating site to bilk man out of $300,000, police say
Woman used dating site to bilk man out of $300,000, police say

A Florida man was looking for companionship, but now he’s a lot lighter in the wallet after being tricked out of $300,000, police said.  An 85-year-old Pembroke Pines man started dating Nancy Guy, 45, after meeting her on a dating site. Guy claimed to be a dress maker who needed money, according to the Miami Herald.  Guy promised...
Linkin Park's Chester Bennington died on late rocker friend Chris Cornell's birthday
Linkin Park's Chester Bennington died on late rocker friend Chris Cornell's birthday

After the death of rocker Chris Cornell was announced in May, Chester Bennington was one of the many high profile names that paid tribute to the Soundgarden singer. >> Read more trending news Bennington, best known as the lead singer of the band Linkin Park, died by suicide this week. He was found hanging in a private residence in California...
Report: Ryan Seacrest to make more than $10 million for 'American Idol' return
Report: Ryan Seacrest to make more than $10 million for 'American Idol' return

Ryan Seacrest announced Thursday that he will return as the host of the upcoming “American Idol” reboot on ABC. >> Read more trending news “It’s genuinely hard to put into words what ‘American Idol’ means to me,” Seacrest said in a statement of the news. “I’m so grateful for the show...
Veteran allowed to keep ducks that help with PTSD
Veteran allowed to keep ducks that help with PTSD

A veteran suffering from PTSD will be allowed to keep his ducks, which he said are therapeutic to him. Darin Welker was convicted in 2014 of a misdemeanor for violating a town ban on owning farm animals, according to the Coshocton Tribune. A state appeals court upheld his conviction, and the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal. However...
Camp keeps Springfield kids learning to stop summer slide
Camp keeps Springfield kids learning to stop summer slide

Learning didn’t stop this summer for 72 Lincoln Elementary School students. The Bobcat Summer Adventure Camp, a six-week enrichment program for kindergarten through sixth grade sponsored by the Springfield Promise Neighborhood, supplemented what the students learned in summer school with reading and writing activities with themes on the natural...
More Stories