12/03/17 — On the agenda: Commissioners to discuss merger of Patetown, Antioch fire districts

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On the agenda: Commissioners to discuss merger of Patetown, Antioch fire districts

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 3, 2017 3:05 AM

Consolidation of the Patetown and Antioch volunteer fire districts will be the topic of a Tuesday morning public hearing before Wayne County commissioners.

The public hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the Wayne County Courthouse Annex. The meeting will get underway with an 8 a.m. agenda briefing followed by the formal session at 9 a.m.

The Patetown and Antioch volunteer fire departments have signed and filed a plan of merger to take effect Jan. 1.

Because of the merger, it will be necessary to consolidate the two fire districts. Under state law, county commissioners have the authority to consolidate the districts.

The two departments notified the Wayne County Fire Marshal's Office in May that they were interested in consolidating.

Once the districts are consolidated, the Patetown Fire Department would continue to submit to commissioners an annual budget request based on the tax rates approved by commissioners.

Residents in the Antioch district may see a reduction in the tax they pay for fire service.

Patetown's current fire tax rate is 6.25 cents per $100 of value, while Antioch's is 8 cents per $100 of value.

Patetown would provide coverage for residents in the Antioch area by maintaining a sub-station at the current Antioch Fire Station.

"The citizens will benefit from the consolidation by having the current insurance rating of Class 5 for the Patetown Fire Protection District transferred to their properties, which could result in significant savings on the insurance premiums for the citizens," Wayne County Fire Marshal Bryan Taylor said in a memo to County Manager George Wood. "Patetown will be compensated for the area covered for the remaining part of this fiscal year and each year after as approved by the county commissioners."

They are not the first departments to consolidate in the county. The East Wayne and New Hope departments have consolidated as have the Faro and Eureka departments.

The mergers had been discussed for many years and were finally spurred into action several years ago by the findings of a survey of county fire departments by the Volunteer Fire Insurance Services.

Also on the agenda, commissioners will elect a new chairman and vice chairman.

In other business, the board will give special recognition to Major Fane Greenfield and Capt. Kenneth W,. Pennington, who are retiring from the Wayne County Sheriff's Office; hear a presentation by MPI for an office/training facility; and see the Catch a Glimpse video update from the county public affairs office.

Consent agenda items include: Applications for Elderly or Disabled Exclusion and for Disabled Veteran Exclusion; budget amendments; and Community Services Block Grant application.

Public comments will be taken at 9:05 a.m. Speakers will have four minutes to comment on their topic of choice.