Legislation supported by Rep. Chris May to better fund fire protection territories advances to governor

STATEHOUSE – Legislation supported by State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) helping local fire protection territories to properly fund essential emergency services in response to population increases could soon be law.

A fire protection territory is formed through an agreement between two or more government entities to provide fire protection and emergency services for a specific area. Managed at the township level, there are currently 61 FPTs across the state.

Shawswick and Guthrie townships in Lawrence County, which are in May’s House District 65, are in the process of forming an FPT at the Shawswick Township Volunteer Fire Department in Bedford. If approved, it would have four full-time firefighters and an emergency medical responder or technician.

Rep. Chris May

“Like many rural parts of the state, Lawrence County sometimes struggles to provide emergency services in a timely way,” May said. “Keeping up with population growth has made the problem more difficult. This legislation would give local officials additional options to fund these essential services.”

Under current law, only fire protection districts, which are managed at the county level, can adjust property tax levies to account for population increases within their jurisdictions. This legislation would give FPTs the same taxing authority so they aren’t competing with other public services, like schools and law enforcement, for existing property tax revenue. 

The final public meeting on establishing a fire protection territory in Lawrence County’s Shawswick and Guthrie townships is set for 6:30 p.m. March 21 in the fire station at 1327 Sunny Acre Drive, Bedford.

To learn more about House Enrolled Act 1246, visit iga.in.gov.