(BLOOMINGTON) – The Van Buren Township and Bloomington Township are considering merging with the Monroe Fire Protection District.
Both of the townships are actively participating in a process to combine the three townships into one fire protection district.
Meetings were held in Van Buren Township and Bloomington Township to inform residents of what the mergers will mean for fire protection and how it will affect property taxes.
The Monroe Fire Protection District includes Clear Creek, Indian Creek, and Perry townships in Monroe County. The Monroe Fire Protection District also has contracts with Salt Creek and Polk townships in Monroe County.
The Monroe Fire Protection District will add three additional full-time firefighters in Perry Township. The additions will perpetually extend part-time staffing currently secured by contractual fire protection in Salt Creek and Polk Townships.
This increase in firefighters will bring the Perry Township Station into compliance with the national standard for staffing and will increase services provided to the community.
In Clear-Creek Township, six additional full-time firefighters will be added. The additions will convert a part-time position that is currently funded by the district and a second position that is temporarily funded by the Staffing Adequate Fire and Emergency Responder (SAFER) grant from the federal government.
In Indian Creek Township (Monroe County), three additional full-time firefighters will be added. The additions will perpetually extend part-time staffing that is partially and temporarily funded by a (SAFER) grant. The perpetual extension for these positions provides for a fully staffed response to medical emergencies.
These additional resources will result in an increase in property taxes, but the increase will be limited and offset over time by a phased transition and additional non-tax sources of revenue.
Without additional revenue sources, the highest level and the” worst-case” scenario would be an estimated increase of $62 per $100,000 in assessed value or $5.17 per month for a resident.
The current fire protection district and the citizens it serves will see a seventy-five percent increase in staffing compared to the 14 percent increase in the maximum property tax levy.
“This is an example of the efficiencies produced by a larger assessed value resulting from the inclusion of Van Buren and Bloomington Townships,” according to Dustin Dillard Fire Chief Monroe Fire Protection District. “The mergers will result in redesigning station response zones. By eliminating the current township line jurisdictions, closer fire stations can be fully utilized.”
These changes will have a positive impact on medical emergencies and traffic accidents that occur in the northwestern part of Indian Creek and Perry Township.
Van Buren Township Trustee Rita Barrow states, “This is a win-win for the township. I fully support the merger. Should our township be annexed, we would lose 60 percent of our fire protection tax base. That would mean we would have to lay off firefighters.”
Barrow provided WBIW with charts explaining the tax implications as well as planned budgets of the new proposed fire protection district.