With less than a week left in 2007, Greencastle city and township officials have finally reached an agreement for fire protection for next year.
Contract completed, residents of Greencastle Township, whose homes are outside the city limits, are ensured fire protection from the Greencastle Fire Department for yet another year. But like in recent years, officials have been slow to come to an agreement on various aspects of the contract -- and in the case of this year, two contracts.
Township officials held back for six months on answering the city's request to contribute $275,000 toward a new fire truck for GFD. Fire Chief Bill Newgent is seeking a replacement for a 1971 fire truck he says requires continual maintenance.
The new truck is estimated to cost $450,000 and the city would contribute the remaining money needed to purchase the truck.
But township trustee Thelma Bumgardner and her advisory board have been slow to respond to the city's request that they pay the money over a two-year period.
Bumgardner has contended that she doesn't want to spend down the money in the township's account or go into debt for the fire truck. But just last week, the two sides agreed that the township would contribute, not $275,000, but $242,000 for the truck.
Additionally, they will do it over a three-year period, rather than two years as requested by the city.
"We are glad that the township has decided to partner with us on this truck," Mayor Nancy Michael told the BannerGraphic in announcing the agreement to the Board of Works last week.
Michael said it would be her hope, even though she will not be the mayor in three years, that the city would ask the township to contribute an additional $33,000 in the fourth year, which would complete the $275,000 request for the fire truck.
According to the contract presented to the board, the city will order the new fire truck after it receives the first payment of $176,000 from the township.
The first payment ($176,000) is due to the city by Oct. 1, 2008, followed by the second payment ($33,000) on Jan. 1, 2009, and the final payments ($33,000) on Jan. 1, 2010, according to the contract.
Regarding the contract for fire protection, city attorney Laurie Hardwick said it hasn't changed much from last year. It still runs for only one year and requires the township to pay $50,000 for the year, which is made in two installments of $25,000.