The second response to the recently delivered letter has been received. Its lateness is due in large part to the Columbus Zoo (which I highly recommend). The Questions will be posted inline once again
Thank you for your interest in our proposal for a Joint Fire District. We truly do believe that this is the best way to go and sincerely hope the Township Trustees will agree to work with Village Council in determining the best way to achieve this goal.
Our Fire Dept. is largely self-governing where day-to-day operations are concerned and I sincerely believe everyone agrees that they do an outstanding job of serving Village & Township residents.
As you delivered your letter of inquiry to be, I have taken the liberty of responding from my point of view.
1. The Village Council has stated that one of the main problems concerning the financial management of the services amounts to "taxation without representation". How are the finances of the services collected and is there financial expectation placed upon the residents of the village to support the Fire and EMS Service?
1. Taxation Without Representation quite simply means that Village Residents pay the same taxes as do township residents, however, as it now stands the Village Resident’s officials are denied a vote on any Fire Dept/EMS issues that may come up. The Township Trustees have assumed sole prerogative for decision making for setting and expending all taxes generated.
2. The various issues concerning the services provided have been discussed over a long period of time. Is there now animosity between the Trustees and the Council because of them?
2. “Animosity” is a very strong word and probably not one that I personally would use. That there have been strong differences of opinion born of frustration might be a more apt description of circumstances.
3. What have your past proposals been with the Village concerning a Joint Operating Agreement (briefly)?
3. The Trustees cancelled our quarterly meeting in the fall of 2003 when we should have drafted a new operating agreement. As the meetings were scheduled on an alternating basis the Village waited for a new meeting date which was never set. In early 2004 the Village Council submitted a proposed operating agreement in hopes of getting things moving. It was not countered. The Village has sent letters saying that six people who care about their community can surely work together on equal footing, however, that suggestions has not been well received by the Trustees.
4. What would you consider to be the strengths and weakness of entering into a Joint Fire District agreement with the Village?
4. In my opinion, a Joint Fire District removes all politics from the decision making body. It is completely independent of both the Village Council & the Township Trustees. Their sole function will be to determine how best to support our Fire & EMS Services to the entire community.
5. If the Village would "decide on an alternative direction", how would the Fire and EMS service change for residents of the Village?
6. If the Village would "decide on an alternative direction", what would be the ramifications upon the Fire and EMS service financially?
5/6. To respond to these questions would be premature as we have banked our hopes on the positive approach of a Joint Fire District and sincerely hope that NO alternative directions will need to be considered.
I have tried to stick strictly with the facts and hope it has been helpful