Bellaire-Pultney fire district proposed

BELLAIRE Neffs Fire Chief John Driscoll approached Bellaire Village Council to gauge its opinion about the possible formation of a fire district between the village and Pultney Township.

Following in the footsteps of Cumberland Trail Fire District and, most recently, Ohio River & Western a combining of Mead Township and Shadyside Driscoll said he believes a fire district is the proper avenue to go for the Neffs Fire Department.

Despite the plan still being in its infancy stage, Driscoll wanted to get the ball rolling quickly as they have a target of getting any levy changes necessary on the November ballot in order to fund the district.

He asked members of council for one or two people to join a committee exploring the plan and to help in bringing it to fruition.

“If several of you would like to come out, I can sit you down and show you some stuff, go over our assets and explain some of the situation with liability,” Driscoll said. “There are a lot of advantages to having fire district.

“Our main interest is seeing the department survive and, if we go with a district, you will be part of it again.”

The original Bellaire Fire Department, which was formed in 1860, was dissolved in Oct. of 2003 because of budgetary issues and since then, the village has contracted with the Neffs Fire Department for fire protection.

If the move becomes official, one or two members of council will need to officially be appointed to a fire board that will help govern the district, along with an equal number of members from the Pultney Township Trustees.

Driscoll stated that Frank Shaffer from the township has volunteered to join the exploratory committee.

Councilmen Jim Williams and Jim Piatt volunteered to join the committee from Bellaire Council.

If the move is agreed upon to go forward, a new name for the fire district will have to be created, along with the fire board.

That name will not be able to contain either the words Bellaire or Neffs in the title based on Ohio Revised Code.

The board will also need to appoint a law director and finance officer and also come up with new levy amounts for both the village and the township in order to fund the district.

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