It will likely be a month before an official contract is signed between the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District and City of Hillsboro for fire/EMS coverage and the sale of the building Paint Creek currently occupies in Hillsboro, according to Paint Creek Board President Dan Mathews.
Mathews said Paint Creek did not sign an agreement previously proposed by Hillsboro at its Tuesday board meeting, but added, “We have an agreeable agreement between the two of us.”
He said the contract is currently being reviewed by attorneys, and that it will “probably be close to a month” before anything is signed.
But he said he feels both sides are comfortable with the contract.
“We have some legal aspects we need to clarify,” Mathews said. “That’s why the attorneys have it right now.”
Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings said he hopes the issue is resolved soon.
“I just think this is a matter that needs to be resolved quickly,” Hastings said. “I have to trust that (Paint Creek) is finally putting it together.”
According to Hastings, the fire house the city currently owns on North East Street will sell to Paint Creek for $720,000, and in exchange, Hillsboro will take ownership of Paint Creek’s former firehouse on Governor Trimble Place.
As previously reported, the proposed agreement says Paint Creek will pay $5,000 per month in rent for the fire station that will be counted toward the purchase price until bonds on the building are mature in 2022 and the deed can be transferred.
In turn, the city will pay Paint Creek $650,000 over each of the next three years, then will become a member of the district at that time.
As previously reported, a problem with the North East Street station’s deed threw a wrench in ongoing negotiations for the property sale, and when the city took the property off the market in an apparent bargaining move, Paint Creek withdrew a standing offer for Hillsboro to join the district as a member, demanding that Hillsboro sell it the property.
So, while Hillsboro City Council voted unanimously last month to join the district, both parties found themselves at an impasse pending a resolution to real estate negotiations.
Hastings said the $650,000 annual payments are “actually pretty darn close to the millage equivalent” Hillsboro residents will be asked to pay when, and if, the city actually becomes a member of the district.
Hillsboro was paying the district roughly $570,000 per year for fire coverage before that contract expired at the end of last year.
As previously reported, if Hillsboro joins the district, a 5.5-mill property tax will automatically be put in place. According to Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley, agricultural and residential properties would pay the equivalent of 4.8 mills, and the estimated yearly tax is $151.20 per $100,000 of valuation.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.