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Vote passes proposed fire territory for New Carlisle, Olive Township

NOW: Vote passes proposed fire territory for New Carlisle, Olive Township

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NEW CARLISLE, Ind. –The proposal to turn a long-time volunteer fire department into a paid fire department passed at a public hearing Tuesday night.

Now, New Carlisle and Olive Township will form a joint territory and hire several firefighters over the next three years.

“In the event it would have turned out differently, the gradual decline would still be there and you would see less and less ability to provide adequate fire protection to the community. So, I believe in my heart that this decision was the right decision and we will prove that going forward,” said New Carlisle EMS Chief John Schweizer.

The department will start a hiring process and identify a fire chief.

The territory says it needs between $1.8 and $2.3 million over the next three years. The funds will pay for firefighter salaries, supplies, and other services.

With the passage of the proposal, funding for the paid department will come from a new tax.

Some say the tax increase is too costly.

For residents whose taxes don’t hit the maximum rates allowed under the 2020 circuit breaker law, more of their money will go to the new territory. As a result, funds will be cut for other taxing entities like the New Prairie United School Corporation, the New Carlisle - Olive Township Library, and New Carlisle and Olive Township’s local governments.

But many say the approval is the right and safe decision.

Supporters argue, depending on volunteers no longer provides sufficient fire protection for the community.

“This community has supported this fire department for over 125 years, and change is hard. And, as our numbers have dwindled, people have been there to support us. Maybe financially through donations, but we’re just not able to find those volunteers,” Schweizer said.

Hudson Township was supposed to be in the agreement, but pulled out.

This makes the impact of the proposal more expensive for New Carlisle and Olive Township.

ABC57 reached out to the trustee who made that decision but did not get a response.

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