Hilliard Northwest News

Norwich trustees: Fire contract will be terminated if Brown Township cannot pass levy

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The Norwich Township trustees on May 20 decided to notify Brown Township they will terminate the townships' contract for EMS and fire-protection services next year if Brown trustees cannot find a funding solution.

“It is with regret that I move we adopt a resolution informing Brown Township that if the levy does not pass in November, Norwich will cease to provide EMS and fire, May 15, 2015,” Norwich Trustee Larry Earman said.

“This puts (Brown Township) on notice. We’re frustrated but serious (about suspending services) if they can’t pass a levy."

Earman said while Norwich Township could have challenged whether or not a 12-month notice period is required to terminate the contract, but the trustees chose to provide early notice.

“I don’t want to get into those kinds of arguments ... but it also isn’t fair to Norwich and Hilliard taxpayers for us to wait until November,” Earman said.

Earman said if a third consecutive Brown Township fire levy attempt were to fail, Norwich would otherwise provide EMS and fire-protection services to Brown Township residents at a reduced cost until the end of 2015.

“Hopefully Brown Township leaders will get a solution to this problem,” Trustee Chuck Buck said. “This is not a knee-jerk reaction."

Brown Township voters narrowly rejected a 5.12-mill fire levy request May 6 by a vote of 347 to 339, according to final unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

A 4.66-mill fire levy request was rejected in November 2013.

Both levy attempts were in response to a 4.12-mill fire levy Norwich Township and Hilliard voters approved in May 2013, requiring Brown Township to follow suit in order to maintain an equal effective millage rate for both townships, according to the terms of the contract.

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