By Martha Stoelting
NORTH WEBSTER — Citizen input is needed about a new, proposed fire territory in Kosciusko County. If approved it would be between Tippecanoe Township and the town of North Webster.
Instead of the North Webster Fire Department, which is now almost completely funded by the township, it would be reorganized as a fire territory, similar to what exists between Syracuse and Turkey Creek Township and between Warsaw and Wayne Township. Tippecanoe Township would be the provider unit and the town of North Webster would be the participating unit.
Three hearings have been set for the public to learn about and comment on the proposed ordinance, resolution and interlocal agreement to establish the North Webster Tippecanoe Township Fire Territory.
They are all to be held at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. The first is Feb. 10, the second is Feb. 24 and the final hearing where it will be adopted, rejected or tabled is scheduled for March 17. All will be in the Tippecanoe Township Building, 102 S. Morton St., North Webster.
These will be attended by the Tippecanoe Township Board and the North Webster Town Council, who are anxious to get public input on the proposed fire territory. The public can park in the township building parking lot at the corner of South Washington Street and South Blaine Street. Enter the building through the township trustee’s office on the west end and proceed to the large meeting room.
The current fire department is operating as frugally as possible according to Township Trustee Chris Francis and Fire Chief Jeremy Likens. It ceased to be an all volunteer fire department many years ago. However, there is very little room to increase pay for employees in order to retain them, volunteer numbers for the fire department are down due to jobs held out of town, and there is housing and business growth in the township, which will need increased services. Taxpayers might see a discount on their homeowners bills for fire protection with a fire territory in place as another benefit.
The proposed levies drawn up for the budget show the absolute maximum amount that could be levied. It could be less. Tax rates are estimates and could vary based on the certified net assessed property values.
Proposed budgets for 2022, 2023 and 2024 are shown in the public notices in The Mail-Journal Jan. 27, 2021, issue.