Committee discusses plan to combine fire, rescue services


GREENVILLE — Greenville City Council’s ad hoc committee met Friday morning to review the Greenville Fire Department’s Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan. Key items in the department’s “wish list” include increasing staffing and creating a combined fire and rescue service.

Greenville Fire Chief Mark Wolf presented nine areas in his plan: staffing, increased recall personnel availability, radio communications, integration of emergency medical services, capital improvement, getting the Haz-Mat team to Type II status, a dedicated training facility, remodeling of the fire department basement classroom area and building permanent steps to the attic area of the fire department building.

Wolf said he would like to bring the fire department’s staffing back up to have a seven-person staff for each shift with a minimum of five people per shift. This includes two medical unit personnel tied his plan for integrated rescue service.

Most of the discussion centered around the combined rescue service plan.

Wolf laid out a plan for funding including a 1-mill levy for the city that would displace the current 3-mill levy for rescue service from the township, actually saving city residents money on their property taxes.

In this region of Ohio, and throughout most of the state, Greenville is the only city among those of comparable size not to have an integrated fire and rescue service.

Committee member Todd Oliver asked why the subject was being brought forth again when it was addressed about six years ago and dismissed. Committee chairman Tracy Treon pointed out that many of the questions at that time, when the city was in the midst of a severe economic downtown, could now be answered.

Oliver also said he could not support a plan that might be detrimental to the township, saying, “If you can show me that this will not cause harm to another entity, I would support it 150 percent. We shouldn’t benefit at another’s expense.”

About 85 percent of calls for Greenville Township Rescue are in the city, and currently up to 20 percent of billing can go directly into the township’s general fund.

“This plan would provide services to the city of Greenville at less cost than now,” the chief said, with Vice-Chairman John Baumgardner adding that “the current system is a dinosaur” and noting “we are elected to serve the interests of the citizens of the city.”

“Show me where we are not going to hurt someone else,” Oliver said.

Baumgardner pointed out that this was the second of “probably 10 meetings” that would be held before creating a combined service, including meetings with township officials, council meetings and town hall meetings to discuss pros and cons and determine the logistics involved.

Committee members praised Wolf’s diligent preparation and detailed presentation of costs and funding of the plan to provide essential services to the citizens of Greenville while saving taxpayer money and reducing the burden of funding fire and emergency services on the city.

By Rachel Lloyd

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Reach the writer at 937-569-4354 or on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA

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