Greenville council sends combined fire/EMS proposal back to committee

GREENVILLE — Greenville City Council met in special session Tuesday evening to hear about the proposal to add a rescue service to the city fire department. Ultimately, council sent the issue back to committee and ordered the committee members bring a recommendation to a regular session council meeting for action to be taken.

Fire Chief Mark Wolk previously presented his five-year proposal to an ad hoc committee as part of his capital improvement plan. The committee decided to bring together the full council to hear the plan.

Council member and president of the committee, Tracy Treon, said the committee wanted council to “let us know if it was worth our while to continue with this.”

City Auditor Roxanne Willman said she had reviewed the plan, and she did not see how the anticipated income would cover the cost of setting up and running a rescue service. Wolf disagreed with her on that point.

Law Director Eric Brand told council that the township would likely keep its levy, which is collected from property owners in the township, both within the city and outside, based on legal precedent set when Sugar Creek Township faced a similar situation with the City of Centerville.

Based on their reviews, both the auditor and the law director advised council against the plan.

Although the measure was sent back to committee, most of the council members already had a clear opinion on it.

Roy Harrison stated unequivocally, “I’m totally against it.”

Leon Rogers expressed his opposition, adding, “I think we’re beating a dead horse as far as any more discussion on it.”

Todd Oliver, who also serves on the ad hoc committee, said, “I don’t want nothing to do with it.” Oliver’s position has remained unchanged, as the question of adding rescue to the fire department was addressed and rejected six years ago.

Clarence Godwin reminded council that in 2012, it was recommended that a joint fire and rescue district encompassing the city and township be created, so that the entire area would be served by both fire and EMS. He wondered if that was ever pursued. Mayor Mike Bowers told Godwin, “I don’t think it went any further than recommedation.”

John Baumgardner continued in expressing his support, repeating his earlier statement that the current situation is “a dinosaur,” noting that similar cities in Ohio have combined fire and emergency medical services.

The committee is scheduled to meet at 9 a.m. Friday in council chambers to come up with a recommendation for council. It will be presented to council at the regular meeting Nov. 3.

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Rachel Lloyd may be reached at 937-569-4354. Follow me on Twitter @RachelLloydGDA or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.