Washington Township residents hear update from trustees


By Kathleen Leese

For Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — A group of concerned citizens gathered at the Washington Township Building on Tuesday, March 19, to hear an update from the trustees regarding the contract for Piqua Fire and EMS, where they learned contract negotiations had been successful and the city will be providing fire and EMS services for the foreseeable future.

During the meeting, it was learned the Piqua City Commission, who were meeting at the same time as the township trustees, unanimously voted to authorize Piqua City Manager Paul Oberdorfer to enter a three year contract with Washington Township Trustees.

During that same Piqua City Commission meeting, the commission unanimously authorized Oberdorfer to enter a three year contract with Springcreek Township trustees.

Present for the meeting were Trustees Jeff Lange, Chairman, and Scott Black, who along with Township Clerk Mikel Brown, addressed the citizens about the negotiations with the city of Piqua. Absent from the meeting was Trustee Ed McMaken.

Lange told those gathered that following approval of the contract, it will go to Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell for approval and then be returned to the trustees for signing. Kendell acts as legal counsel for all of the townships in Miami County.

According to Lange, in 2023, the township paid $109,000 for the city of Piqua Fire and Rescue services and will pay $150,000 in 2024; $195,000 in 2025 and $239,000 in 2026.

Lange said the agreement is “a win for the township, a win for the citizens.”

He also told residents there will be a need for a levy on the November ballot that will be bigger than the current levy.

Brown said the county auditor will have to figure out the millage for the upcoming levy and noted it will then be placed on the ballot by the Miami County Board of Elections. She said placing a levy on the ballot is not cheap and most levies are for five years.

Lange said he believes one of the problems that has happened and led to the need for a new contract with the city of Piqua was with former administrations.

“I think the old saying kicking the can down the road was done in past administrations,” he said, noting the “total budget of the Piqua Fire Department is approximately $6 million dollars.”

Lange said it was important that the matter be resolved, “We got a lot of work done because there’s been a line drawn in the sand, March 31,” a reference to the fact the trustees had to agree to a contract with the city by that time or face finding alternative fire and rescue services.

“We’re staying with the same quality Piqua Fire and EMS you’ve enjoyed over the years,” Lange told those present.

Kathy Mayse, who with her husband, Jamie, was present for the meeting, told trustees, “In 32 years of living here, until January 11, I’d never attended a meeting.”

Due to the importance of having fire and rescue services that include paramedics responding, she got involved. She thanked the trustees for their work securing the contract.

Lange said,“I want to thank everyone. We were honest with everyone. We went to Piqua and opened up communications.”

“The citizens of this township are most important to the trustees. My hat’s off to Mikel (Brown) for watching our money,” Lange said.

Oberdorfer told Miami Valley Today, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Springcreek Township and Washington Township Trustees for their residents to continue to receive fire and emergency medical services from the city of Piqua.

“This long-standing partnership ensures the safety of residents and students in the townships, a service we are proud to provide for our community. I am pleased that we have been able to reach a solution to make the cost of fire and EMS services affordable for the townships while allowing the city to balance the budget for our fire department.

“Our focus remains on the safety and wellbeing of the residents of the city of Piqua and our neighbors in Springcreek and Washington Townships. We look forward to a continued relationship with our neighbors and providing critical services when they are needed most,” Oberdorfer said.

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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