No action yet on Paint Creek fire contract

Gary Abernathy The Times-Gazette

November 27, 2013

No action was taken Tuesday by the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District board on the contract with the city of Hillsboro for fire and emergency services coverage after several board members had to deal with weather-related duties due to the snow and ice that moved through the region.

Members of the board are township trustees, and when bad weather hits, trustees often find themselves on snowplow duty or other such service.

Five members were present on Tuesday, which constitutes a quorum of the nine-member board, but board president Dan Mathews said he wanted more members present before acting on the contract. Plus, Mathews said the contract wasn’t quite ready in its final form, due to some last-minute minor changes in language.

It does appear that board members involved in the negotiations are prepared to agree to the lower of two figures that have been discussed in regard to the contract. The cost of the contract is determined by what the equivalent cost would be based on property tax revenue if Hillsboro joined the district as a member.

County auditor Bill Fawley said earlier this month that for Hillsboro, the amount would be about $614,500 in total, but only about $554,000 if a 10 percent delinquency rate is applied that is typically included with township property taxes. The townships that are part of the district pay the amount that includes the 10 percent reduction. Hillsboro’s contract with Paint Creek will be paid from existing city income tax revenue.

Mathews said that if the contract is finalized, he could call a special meeting as early as Friday. But he said a meeting sometime next week was more likely.

Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Todd Wilkin said Wednesday he was “excited that we came to an agreement on the $554,000 number.” He agreed with Mathews that the remaining contract items are minor and will be quickly worked out.

Hillsboro City Council voted 4-3 earlier this month to contract with Paint Creek for fire and emergency services beginning in January 2014.