The city of Fairborn stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue as Bath Twp. trustees have opted to contract with surrounding townships for fire service.
Trustees voted this week to move forward with drawing up contracts with Bethel, Miami and Beavercreek townships to cover Bath’s fire and emergency medical service runs.
The move comes after negotiations failed to continue fire service with the city of Fairborn, which was seeking a significant increase in annual costs.
Bath Twp. paid $689,000 for Fairborn’s fire service this year, most of which is paid through property taxes from a fire levy. To renew the five-year contract, the city asked for annual costs to go up above $1 million for 2019 and $1.2 million for each of the subsequent years, according to city records.
Fairborn’s responses to calls in Bath Twp. are 8 percent of their total calls, and based on the current contract which requires the township to pay $1,325 per run, “we’re overpaying currently,” according to Trustee Tom Pitstick.
“They want to put a huge increase on top of it. It doesn’t make any sense at all,” Pitstick said.
From 2012 to 2017, Fairborn fire crews responded to an average of 511 calls to the township, according to city records.
City Manager Rob Anderson said their operating costs have increased with the purchase of new equipment and with increased calls for service.
“The township is growing like we are, and our costs are going up,” Anderson said. “Fairborn council has passed a resolution to enter into a contract with Bath Twp. for 2019 … We are still willing to negotiate up until the very last minute to continue our service. We are certainly willing to look at other numbers and sit down and have a meaningful conversation.”
The last the city heard from the township on the issue is an Oct. 26 letter from the township’s attorney James M. Hill, who was retained to negotiate with the city.
The “historical average” that the township has paid Fairborn each year for fire/EMS service is $706,225, and the township’s fire levy only generates about $650,000 a year, according to Hill’s letter.
“The township is both unwilling and unable to pay these proposed amounts to Fairborn for Fire/EMS services,” Hill’s letter reads.
Trustees met with fire officials from Bethel, Miami, and Beavercreek townships as well as a supervisor with the Greene County Emergency Dispatch Center. Pitstick said they are confident that three fire departments, which already provide mutual aid to Bath, will be able to cover the township’s fire and EMS needs at a cost lower than what the fire levy generates.
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Anderson said the city and council “are prepared to move forward” with or without Bath Twp.’s contract.
“The city can absorb that loss of revenue but will do so by delaying some larger capital purchases and pursuing other options for revenue going forward,” Anderson said.