McMahon Valley Fire District plans advance

BELLAIRE The planned formation of a joint fire district between the village of Bellaire and Pultney Township appears to be moving forward.

Bellaire Councilman Jim Piatt, one of two members of council who volunteered to represent the village on the project along with Councilman Jim Williams, gave a status update on the project to council recently.

He also explained the potential district has a name.

Should a levy pass providing funding for the district, it will be called the McMahon Valley Fire District. As Ohio Revised Code states that the fire district’s name cannot contain the name of either governmental entity that comprises the district, this name was chosen.

“This council should support the trustees in their efforts to do this,” Piatt said. “That being said, I would make the motion that Bellaire council puts their support behind Pultney Township and the Neffs Fire Department on the fire district.”

That motion was seconded by Williams and the motion passed, 6-0.

Next, Piatt explained that the auditor and accountant from the Neffs Fire Department want to get with Bellaire Village Clerk Tom Sable to help form a potential budget for the district.

That way, a millage amount can be determined that will need to go on the ballot.

Piatt said right now they are estimating the final total to be in the area of 3 to 3.5 mills. However, that amount is not official and won’t be until an official budget is ironed out and submitted to Belmont County Auditor Andy Sutak’s office for certification.

“If the levy fails, all this work is moot,” Piatt said. “But I think that’s the best thing for Bellaire and Pultney.”

Piatt noted the village plans to have multiple town hall-style meetings once the final numbers are determined. That way, the public can ask any and all questions related to the district, before the levy comes up for a vote.

Village Solicitor Joe Vavra asked council if they’d like him to draw up an ordinance for the fire district. He was told yes and will draft the ordinance, wording it in similar fashion to the one Shadyside Village Council passed during the formation of the Ohio River and Western Fire District.

Hughes may be reached at