The Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District voted to extend a three-year offer for contractual services to the City of Hillsboro, but tabled any vote on the city joining the district during a meeting Tuesday night, board president Dan Mathews said Wednesday.
“It’s still up in the air as normally is everything with the city,” Mathews said. “You think you have something going with the City of Hillsboro, but something always seems to happen.”
Mathews also said the city seems to be “deliberately holding back the deed” to the fire station that currently houses the Paint Creek station in Hillsboro, but is owned by the city.
A key to the city joining the district as a full voting member is the city and Paint Creek agreeing on a real estate deal for the North East Street fire house.
Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings said the city received an offer Wednesday morning from Paint Creek to remain a contractual member of the district for the next three years.
Mathews said Paint Creek’s offer was for the city to pay in the vicinity of $642,000 to $643,000 for fire and EMS coverage next year. He did not say what the offer was for the two following years.
“Their offer is the exact same offer they’ve offered us three times, and if I recall, the definition of insanity is performing the same action over and over again expecting a different result,” Hastings said. “It’s not a fair deal for the city.”
Hastings also said the city is not holding back anything as far as the deed is concerned.
“The only reason we’d give them the deed is if we’re selling them the building, and we have not reached that agreement, so of course they wouldn’t have a deed,” Hastings said. “When we have a deal that’s finalized, we will see to it they get (the deed to the building).
“There is nothing the city is up to on this. We would love to have this done and behind us,” Hastings added. “They can accomplish that easily by voting for us to join the district. Then we will happily sit down and get them a deed to the building.”
At a Dec. 11 Hillsboro City Council meeting, officials said the city was poised to sell the North East Street fire station to Paint Creek later in the month.
Finance Committee Chairman Justin Harsha said at the time that his committee decided the city should approve a temporary 2019 budget that will cover the city’s expenses until the Paint Creek matter is resolved, since Hillsboro would likely have to pay Paint Creek for a one-year contract until the district can collect revenue from a 5.5-mill levy that would be put on the books if the city were to join the district.
The city also approved a 2019 budget at the Dec. 11 meeting that includes $650,000 to cover the estimated Paint Creek contract price for the year, Harsha said. The city previously paid Paint Creek $570,000 yearly for fire coverage out of its General Fund.
As previously reported, the city voted last month to join the district instead of contracting for fire service as it has in previous years, although Paint Creek last month suspended its offer for Hillsboro to join until the city sells the district its fire station on North East Street.
Officials have said recently that both sides were on the verge of closing the deal, but Mathews said Wednesday that he does not know what’s going on with the city. He also said Paint Creek would like to see the city accept its proposal.
Hastings told council at the Dec. 11 meeting that the city recently presented Paint Creek with a clear title for the fire station and is ready to proceed with the sale, but that Hillsboro would not close until Paint Creek votes to accept the city as a member.
The purchase price for the North East Street station would be $720,000, officials have said, and in exchange, Hillsboro would take ownership of Paint Creek’s former firehouse on Governor Trimble Place. The proposed agreement said Paint Creek would pay $5,000 per month in rent for the North East Street station that would be counted toward the purchase price until bonds on the building are mature in 2022 and the deed can be transferred.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.