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Osceola Town Council approves plan to pay for fire and EMS services

OSCEOLA, Ind. -

After months of debate, the Osceola Town Council has finally solved its fire department debacle.

As of Tuesday night, Osceola neighbors can sleep soundly, knowing Penn Township Fire and EMS will be there if they need them.

“I want to thank the board, thank you Penn Township, for coming together on this,” said one Osceola neighbor, Susan Sebesta.

“It needed to be done, and you guys did it. That’s the main thing. Got it done,” said another neighbor, Robert Bean.

“We knew we had to do something for the town. That was never not an option. We just had to decide which one we wanted to do, so we chose option two, which is a little more costly, but I think it’s better for the town,” said Osceola Town Council President, Debra Davis.

With option two, Osceola will pay Penn Township a total of $244,000 in 2017 to cover fire and EMS services that year.

Even though Penn has been covering them for years, this is the first time the township will receive any payment from Osceola.

‘It was just a discovery period for the board and trustee, and we finally came to a point, where this needed to happen for us to continue to provide quality EMS and fire service for the town of Osceola,” said one Penn Township board member, Matthew Lentsch.

As part of the deal, Osceola holds onto their buildings, trucks, and equipment.

“We will start selling those off, trying to find places to sell them and that to use that money to try to recoup what we’re going to be paying,” said Davis.

They’ll also be pulling from other funds to come up with the money.

After two years, taxes could go up if Osceola decides to become part of a fire territory.

“I don’t see anybody objecting to some minor taxes going up for that,” said Bean.

The town’s hope is that their ISO rating, which reflects a community’s fire protection, will improve.

“They also said that by getting a better ISO rating, insurance rates will go down, so it’s going to hopefully equal out,” said Davis.

After approving the motion, town council president Davis had one last thing to say.

“I hope the townspeople are happy,” she said.

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