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Published: Wednesday, 3/30/2005

Swancreek Township: Fire station report due in June


DELTA - A report that evaluates the pros and cons of setting up a fire department in Swancreek Township is expected to be completed in June, trustees said.

"We're looking at all the angles," said trustee James Meyer.

Each trustee is tackling various issues related to the possible creation of a township fire department, and June 1 has been set as a deadline to pull the facts and figures together. "We are looking into the cost of a fire station, the cost to operate it, the cost to man it," said Mr. Meyer.

A township fire department has been an on-again, off-again topic for many years in Swancreek, one of the fastest growing townships in Fulton County. Trustees have expressed concerns over the cost of contracting for fire and rescue services with neighboring fire departments, but coverage is the key concern - making sure that the residents receive the best coverage possible.

"We want to see which services would be the most price-effective for the residents and would provide the best coverage," said Mr. Meyer. If a township fire department would cost a little more to operate and maintain but would reduce the average response time for emergency calls, then "as far as I'm concerned, it would be worth it," he said.

It's a just a matter of time before a fire department becomes a necessity in the township, he said. "We've looked into this, and we will keep looking into it," he said.

The township is under contract for fire and rescue services from fire departments in Swanton, Liberty Center, York, and Providence townships, Mr. Meyer said.

According to Mr. Ruge, the township pays about $90,000 per year for fire and rescue services. A bulk of that cost is for services provided by Swanton.

In January trustees signed the 2005 fire and rescue contract with the village for $47,802.

Swancreek Trustee Randal Ruge said that a fire department has to be evaluated as a business, and that associated costs and revenue have to be taken into consideration.

"We will evaluate it based on that," he said, but trustees also will consider the additional safety from a fire department located closer to the residents. "That is something that we are going to give a serious look," Mr. Ruge said.

Last year the creation of a joint fire district that would include Swancreek Township was studied by neighboring emergency departments, but Swancreek trustees, who weren't interested in such a venture, did not contribute funds to the feasibility study.

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