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Township seeking paid firefighters, again
Updated on: 08.08.14

 

Washington Township Trustee Bryan Gabriel is once again trying to secure a tax increase to fund paid firefighters for the Brown County ( Nashville) Volunteer Fire Department.

Last fall, not advertising an advisory board meeting prevented the township from acquiring a $200,000 loan to cover costs of three or four full-timefirefighters for one year.

This year, he got an early start in order to ensure the loan process gets done properly.

The township advisory board - Stephanie Binkley-Gore, Gerald "Joe" Miller and Donna Lutes - will consider the proposal during a public meeting at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 12, at the township office, 2444 Old State Road 46 East.

If at least two of the advisory board members vote yes and the measure passes a review by the state, the Nashville Fire Department could havepaid firefighters in September or October.

In 2014, the board voted 2-1 in favor of the loan, with Binkley-Gore and Miller saying yes and Lutes voting no.

On Aug. 12, taxpayers will have a chance to comment and ask questions. Nashville Fire Chief Dallas "Dak" Kelp will explain his reasons for wanting to increase property taxes to have paid firefighters.

The proposal

The advisory board will vote on the additional appropriation of $54,000 for use during the last quarter of 2014 and the $200,000 loan to fund paid firefighters for 2015.

Gabriel said not all of the $54,000 will go toward paid firefighters, because the fire department operates at a deficit. Part of the money would pay for equipment repairs, he said.

Kelp said the $28,000 that Washington Township pays the department annually for fire protection, the $9,000 each year from the town of Nashville and fundraisers are not enough to cover operating expenses.

The plan is to have three or four paid firefighters to cover 12-hour shifts Monday through Friday. They would be supplemented by volunteers.

That plan depends on the town also increasing taxes on its property owners, who do not pay a fire tax.

Kelp said he is awaiting a report from the Nashville Town Council about the possibility of letting property owners decide through a referendum. Council members are researching the legalities of placing the topic on a ballot, he said.

If the town does agree to participate, the fire department could have a chief making $45,000 a year, the senior firefighter earning $38,780 and a firefighter making $35,364.

If the proposal is approved, the estimated cost to taxpayers is an additional $78 a year for a property with an assessed value of $100,000. At $200,000, the additional cost would be approximately $156. A $300,000 property would pay $234 annually for fire protection.

Gabriel noted that after the loan is paid off through the property tax increase, taxes could drop slightly. However, the tax hike would remain in place for as long as Nashville fire department had paid firefighters.

Ten or more taxpayers in the township can file a petition with the auditor stating objection, which would force the matter to a public hearing before the Department of Local Government Finance.

Gabriel pointed out he is not running for re-election. The people vying for that spot this fall are Melissa Stinson on the Democratic ticket and Michael Magner on the Republican ballot. Their position on the topic could factor into the future of paid firefighters.

Reasons for going paid

The goal for having paid firefighters is to improve fire protection in Washington Township.

Kelp said there has been more demand for the fire department in recent years. During the past three years, the department made at least 500 emergency runs a year. They are on pace to do the same this year.

As a result of all the responses, the department operates at a loss.

Another factor Kelp cites to justify paid firefighters is the declining number of volunteers. That's due in large part to the demanding nature of the job, which pays no money, requires several hours of training and calls for 24/7 availability.

Kelp said paid firefighters would improve response times by from four to 15 minutes. They would also alleviate pressure on volunteers, provide better maintenance on equipment and improve record keeping necessary to drop the ISO rating, or fire protection rating that affects home and business insurance rates.

"Our volunteers do a really great job with what they're given. I think if they had additional resources we could definitely get a better rating," Gabriel said.

A better rating could reduce premiums in the township. The money saved could offset the increase in taxes, but there are no guarantees.

"It's one of those things we won't know until we do it," Gabriel said. "There is a potential for a net savings overall. There is also a potential that it may not go down."

Kelp said he understood that raising taxes is an unpopular notion. He doesn't see any other way to reverse the trend of a fire department suffering from overburdened volunteers.

He said aging equipment and falling behind on required reports could cause a drop in the ISO rating. That would likely cause an increase in insurance premiums.

"One way or another, you're going to pay more," Kelp said.

  • February 7
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 7
    'Joy' at the playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 7
    Read to a dog at the library
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    noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
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    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
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    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • February 9
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 9
    Peaceful Valley Heritage meeting
    6:30 p.m. BC Community Foundation, 209 N. Van Buren St.
  • February 9
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    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 9
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    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 9
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  • February 9
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    10 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
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    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 10
    Sanders group meeting at library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 10
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • February 11
    CSCD Water Commission
    5 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • February 11
    LEGO Club
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 11
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 11
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 11
    Photography club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 11
    Jackson Township Advisory Board
    6:30 p.m. Jackson Fire Dept., 4831 Helmsburg Rd.
  • February 12
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 12
    Dave Miller at sports bar
    6 to 8 p.m. Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 13
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • February 13
    Farm-to-Fifth tours at distillery
    11 a.m. to 5 p.m. hourly Bear Wallow Distillery, 4484 E. Old State Road 46, Gnaw Bone
  • February 13
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    11 a.m. Big Woods Brewery, 60 Molly's Lane
  • February 13
    Church breakfast free to community
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • February 13
    BC Parks & Rec youth basketball
    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 13
    BCHS boys basketball
    6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 13
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    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 13
    Widowed group
    2:30 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 14
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 14
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 15
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  • February 15
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    6 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 15
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    9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 15
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 16
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • February 16
    CSCD Board of Directors
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • February 16
    Brown County Council
    6:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 16
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 16
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 16
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 16
    Hamblen Township Board
    6:30 p.m. Hickory Ridge Community Center, 2314 Hickory Ridge Lane off Hornettown Road
  • February 16
    Nashville Development Review Commission
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 16
    Nashville Police Merit Commission
    6 p.m. Nashville Police Station, 200 Hawthorne Dr.
  • February 17
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    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 17
    BC Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 17
    Sanders group meeting at library
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 17
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    6 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • February 17
    B.C. Election Board
    2 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    LEGO Club
    11 a.m., 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 18
    Nashville Town Council
    6:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 18
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    4 p.m. Veterans Hall, 902 Deer Run Lane
  • February 18
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    6:30 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 18
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 18
    Helmsburg Sewage Board
    7 p.m. BC Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • February 19
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 20
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 20
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 20
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    10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bear Wallow Distillery, 4484 E. Old State Road 46, Gnaw Bone
  • February 20
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    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 21
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    9 to 11 a.m. Brown County State Park, 1450 State Road 46 East (north entrance)
  • February 21
    BC Parks & Rec adult basketball
    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 22
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    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 22
    Women's support group meets weekly
    6:30 p.m.
  • February 23
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • February 23
    Family history workshop offered at the library
    1 to 4 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • February 23
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    8 p.m. to midnight Salt Creek Golf Retreat, 2359 State Road 46 East
  • February 23
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    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • February 23
    Euchre
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  • February 23
    Women's Bible study on spiritual warfare offered Tuesdays
    1 to 3 p.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • February 24
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  • February 24
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    5:15 p.m. Parks & Rec Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • February 24
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    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • February 25
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    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • February 25
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    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 26
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    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • February 26
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    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • February 27
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    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • February 27
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    9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., noon BC Junior High, 95 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 28
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    1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. BCHS, 235 Schoolhouse Lane
  • February 29
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    6:30 p.m.
  • February 29
    Photography club
    7 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 1
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 1
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • March 1
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    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 1
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 2
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    5 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 2
    BC Commissioners
    9 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 2
    Nashville Main Street Committee
    9:30 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 2
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • March 3
    Gospel jam & sing in Gnaw Bone
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Church, 5181 State Road 46 East, Gnaw Bone
  • March 3
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    6 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 3
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    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • March 5
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Community Center, 746 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 7
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    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 7
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    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • March 8
    CSCD Roads, Security commissions
    6 p.m., 7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 8
    Nashville Parking & Public Facilities
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 8
    B.C. Fair Board
    7 p.m. 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 9
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • March 10
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 10
    Nashville Arts & Entertainment Commission
    10 a.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 10
    CSCD Water Commission
    5 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • March 15
    BC Board of Health
    7 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 15
    BC Convention & Visitors Bureau
    8:30 a.m. Cornerstone Inn, 54 E. Franklin St.
  • March 16
    Lake Lemon Conservancy District Board
    6 p.m. Benton Township Senior Center, 7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville
  • March 17
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 Schoolhouse Lane
  • March 23
    BC Parks & Rec Board
    5:15 p.m. Parks & Rec Office, 1001 Deer Run Lane
  • March 23
    BC Board of Zoning Appeals
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 28
    American history DVD to play at library
    1 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 4
    Gnaw Bone Sewage Board
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 5
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSCD Office, 8377 Cordry Drive
  • April 5
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • April 6
    BC Soil & Water District
    6:30 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 6
    BC Local Emergency Planning Committee/Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • April 6
    BC Commissioners
    9 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane