Levy makes way for paid fire fighters

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Starting next year, fire protection for residents of Deercreek, Monroe, Oak Run, Paint and Union townships will have a new look.

The five townships are part of the new Central Townships Joint Fire District, which placed a levy on the Nov. 6 ballot. The 4.75-mill levy passed 604-507, which means the district can hire a full-time chief and paid part-time fire fighters.

Historically, the area has been served by an all-volunteer fire department. The department’s difficulty in finding enough volunteers to cover daytime hours Monday through Friday required them to forge "automatic response" agreements with surrounding fire departments.

"Now, our department will be able to function on its own. We will be able to take calls without the initial need to call other departments for help," said Rob Turvy Jr., a member of the Central Townships Joint Fire District board.

"We thank the fire fighters and the surrounding fire departments for their support and patience."

The fire district board’s first order of business will be to meet with the county finance committee to remove from the tax logs the participating townships’ individual fire protection levies. Then, the board will begin the search for a new fire chief.

"We hope to get a lot of applicants so we have a good group to choose from," Turvy said.

The board plans to have the full-time chief in place by early next year so that the paid part-time fire fighters can be hired by spring. Volunteer fire fighters will continue to cover the evening and weekend hours.

The new levy will generate $501,855 annually for the next five years.

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