Greenville City Council accepts committee report, seeks talks for joint fire, EMS district

GREENVILLE — An ad hoc committee tasked with reviewing Greenville’s Fire Department’s Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan for 2015-2020 recommended against its adoption at Tuesday night’s Greenville City Council meeting.

Instead, the committee, composed of councilmen John Baumgardner, Todd Oliver and Tracy Tryon, proposed that the city hold talks with Greenville Township and Darke County officials to establish a joint Fire/Emergency Medical Services district and a central dispatch.

One item among the Fire Department’s proposal was the establishment of a city-owned EMS department. Some council members had previously voiced opposition to the plan, expressing satisfaction with the current rescue service provided by Greenville Township. The township also operates its own fire department.

The committee’s report stated “there were several issues of the plan that could be considered by the Administration and Council through the Capital Improvement Program Funding.”

“As for the request for communications,” the report continued, “it is the Committee’s opinion that the Administration, Legal Representation, and Representatives of the Council meet with County Officials to establish a central dispatch for the County.”

The committee report went on to say, “the addition of EMS to the City Fire Department does not have the support of the Council due to concerns over funding, additional expenses, and staffing. This Committee does feel that the Council will support the establishment of a joint Fire and a joint EMS district with the Township and that the Administration, Legal Council, Council and Fire Representation begin meeting and discussions with Township Administration and personnel to format and create a joint fire district to be considered by the citizens for their best interests, fiscal responsibility and emergency services.”

Council voted unanimously to accept the committee’s recommendation.

Regarding issues with equipment and funding the city’s fire department sought to address with the plan, Tryon said, “Those can be addressed with the capital improvement plans. It’s not that [Greenville Fire Chief Mark Wolf’s] plans were being dismissed altogether.”

“We think there are some merits of open dialogue with officials within the township and county over centralizing dispatch and the possibility of a joint district for fire or EMS,” Tryon added.

Councilman Leon Rogers said, “We need to definitely look at that, and I think it would save the city some money to where we could put some money into street repair.”

In other business, council approved an ordinance allowing other municipalities within Darke County to use the city’s water leak detection equipment and personnel.

The ordinance was prompted by a recent request from the Village of Arcanum to use Greenville’s equipment and personnel to detect water leaks within its municipality. City Law Director Eric Brand told council that although Arcanum has since decided not to pursue it, the city wished to have a “format” in place for any future requests.

Council also approved an ordinance adopting a new municipal income tax code for the city effective Jan. 1, 2016. This ordinance was mandated by the State of Ohio.

City Auditor Roxanne Willman said recently passed legislation by the Ohio General Assembly was intended to provide “uniformity of local income tax rules across the state” but that the city’s ordinance does not change the current tax rates in the city.

The Greenville City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at the city’s municipal building. The public is welcome to attend.

Committee report cites funding, staffing concerns

By Erik Martin

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Erik Martin may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.