After three public meetings, a vote was taken by the Walnut Township board, Green Township board, and the Argos Town Council. Walnut Township voted in favor, the Argos Town Council voted in favor, but the Green Township board voted 1-1 with one seat vacant.
In order for the fire territory to be established, all three boards must vote in favor. However, since the Green Township vote was inconclusive, it seemed like the April 1 deadline wasn’t going to be met.
It was announced after that meeting that a caucus was to be held at the Marshall County Republican Headquarters to fill the vacant seat on the Green Township Board. It was also announced that a week after that, a meeting of the Green Township Board was to be held to vote on the fire territory.
During the caucus, Anna Barlow was chosen out of the three candidates to fill that vacancy.
Thursday night, a full Green Township Board met at the Argos Town Hall. All available seating was filled by members of the public. Board members Jim Fishburn, Dean Zechiel, and Anna Barlow fielded questions from the public with the help of Attorney Jeff Bellamy.
One audience member asked if Green Township could leave the territory in the future should a better option become available. Bellamy responded that every year, most likely during the first quarter of the year, each participating unit will vote to either leave the territory or stay. Should one unit leave, the fire territory would still remain since the two other units touch. Participating units are Green Township, Walnut Township, and the Town of Argos.
Another person asked Barlow if she currently paid property taxes. Barlow said that currently she did not, but in 2022 she would be buying 40 acres of land.
“So I do understand the burden of that, but I will be taking that burden on too,” said Barlow.
“You have an extra year besides us,” said the audience member.
Later on in the meeting another audience member asked if Barlow was qualified to vote since she doesn’t currently own property.
“She’s qualified to be on the advisory board,” Bellamy responded.
There was a question from Zechiel asking if a fire board or the Town Council would control the fire territory. It was explained that the fire board would be comprised of one representative from each township and the town. A fourth non-voting member would be the Fire Chief. The Town of Argos would be the unit that submits the fire territory’s budget each year. The fire board would govern the fire territory.
A vote was taken to approve Green Township entering the Argos Fire Territory. Fishburn and Barlow voted in favor while Zechiel voted against. Another vote was taken to approve the equipment replacement fund. The vote was the same as the first.
With a definitive outcome, all three participating units are in agreement to enter into the fire territory. The next step would be for all documentation to be submitted to the Department of Local Government Finance.
Provided by our news partners at the Pilot News
By James Master Assistant Editor