Thursday evening members of the Argos Town Council, representatives from Green and Walnut Townships and citizens of Argos had the opportunity to learn about the possibility of creating a Fire Protection Territory.
The idea of a Fire Protection Territory will help Argos EMS who has been experiencing a number of missed calls for assistance due to a staffing issue. Steve Wilhelm the Walnut Township Trustee said missed calls can happen and the only thing that can help that issue is additional funding for a full-time EMS service. The Fire Protection Territory will allow the department to create an adequate funding source for emergency services.
While the fire department would remain a volunteer, the additional funds raised would help pay for full-time EMTs. The funds will also help with the purchase of needed equipment.
The Town of Argos has looked at aprivate paramedic service and found it to be too costly. The service could not guarantee a constant presence in Argos. Currently Argos EMS is relying on mutual aid from neighboring municipalities but that creates a longer response time.
At the current time Argos contributes 43% while Walnut Township pays 30% and Green Township gives 27%. This system has worked over the past several years, but it was noted that in a few years the townships will not have the funds to help at the current rate.
A representative from BakerTilly was on hand to explain the impact on taxes with the creation of a Fire Protection Territory.
Those living in the Town of Argos are either in Green or Walnut Township. Susan Cowen said there would be a 4.8% reduction in taxes by the reduction will not be seen by everyone or all types of property. The first year of the Fire Protection Territory Green Township would see a 21% increase in taxes while in Walnut Township the increase is estimated at almost 12%.
The meeting Thursday evening was informational, and no action was taken. There will be two more public hearings on the Fire Protection Territory, Thursday, February 18th and Thursday, March 4 both at 6:30 at the Fire Department.
Town officials will be deciding in March if the Fire Territory is the direction they want to go, and the townships will also decide before the state’s deadline.
Information from Thursday’s meeting will be placed on the Town of Argos website this week.