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Published: Tuesday, 8/16/2005

Delta council moves to end York Township fire agreement

DELTA, Ohio - Village Council last night made its first formal move toward ending its five-year contract with York Township for fire service after next year.

Council's action sets the stage for the possibility of the village setting up its own fire department.

Council authorized Law Director Michelle Kranz to send a notice to the York Township trustees advising them that the village plans to terminate the fire-service agreement, effective Jan. 1, 2007.

The vote was 5-0, with Councilman Cathy Buehrer absent.

The agreement requires the village to give the township at least one year's notice of any plan to withdraw.

Delta officials for months have been trying to work with the York trustees to improve strained relations that have developed as a result of the fire contract.

However, village officials contend that the trustees aren't interested in changes, such as in the budget arrangements.

Under the agreement, York Township has complete control of the department. However, Delta residents pay about 60 percent of the budget.

Councilman Marcy LeFevre said last night after the meeting that the trustees recently rejected her suggestion to form an advisory board to discuss the issues.

According to the fire contract, if Delta declares intent to withdraw, both sides must enter good-faith negotiations to form a fire district.

However, the township trustees, in the past, have turned down proposals to create such a district.

Gary Baker, the village administrator, said that a decision would need to be made by July, 2006, regarding how Delta will provide its residents with fire services.

Other options would include contracting with other nearby fire departments for service, forming a fire district with a neighboring department, or creating its own fire department.

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