Fairborn medics and a firefighter participate in an exercise at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in May 2015. CONTRIBUTED

Bath Twp. vote on fire contracts tonight will end Fairborn agreement

Bath Twp. trustees are expected to approve new contracts tonight for fire and EMS service, ending a long-standing relationship with the city of Fairborn.

Contracts agreements were reached this week with Bethel, Miami and Beavercreek townships, and Bath Twp. trustees will consider approving the agreements at their meeting tonight.

RELATED: A fire contract change will cost Fairborn hundreds of thousands of dollars

If approved, fire departments in the surrounding townships will be the first called to Bath Twp. emergencies beginning in January.

“After investigating the issue thoroughly, we are convinced our citizens will be well-served,” said Trustee Steve Ross. “These are three really good fire departments. They employ professionals. They are dedicated. They are really looking forward to serving us.”

The move comes after negotiations failed between the township and Fairborn to renew their fire/EMS contract. The two sides could not agree on how much the township should pay the city.

Fairborn received $689,000 this year for providing fire/EMS service to Bath Twp. In addition, the city was receiving an estimated $116,000 annually from EMS billing for life squad runs in the township, according to city records.

To renew the five-year contract, the city asked to increase costs to above $1 million for 2019 and $1.2 million for each subsequent year.

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said that without a new agreement with Bath Twp., the city will have to delay “some larger capital purchases” and pursue other revenue sources.

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Anderson said he is still willing to negotiate but said attempts to renew talks have been unsuccessful. He said he doesn’t believe the township ever intended to renew the contract because the current rate was reducing the township’s fire/EMS fund balance.

“So they were looking for a cheaper solution,” he said. “Our proposal would have required the township to ask for an increase in their fire levy next year. The trustees are unwilling to ask for said increase, and instead choose to seek the lowest cost for Fire/EMS services.”

The township currently receives approximately $650,000 a year in tax revenue for fire service. The final estimate of the new contracts was not available by deadline for this story, but Bath Twp. Trustee Tom Pitstick said the amount will be less than what the township currently collects from the fire levy.

Fairborn’s four fire stations “are situated to provide the fastest possible response to the residents of Bath Township” and the city, according to a Facebook post from John Howard, president of Fairborn Professional Firefighters Local 1235.

“Fairborn Firefighters have proudly served the people of Bath Township — seeing them as a part of our Fairborn community — for over 40 years,” Howard’s post reads. “We are the only choice when it comes to knowing where you live and getting to you the fastest with the highest level of care available.”

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James M. Hill, attorney hired by Bath Twp. to negotiate with Fairborn, acknowledged that response times could change under the new agreements.

“You could now be closer to one of the township stations than you were to a Fairborn station, or you could be further from a station. It depends on where you live or where the accidents occurred. It also depends on whether the station is manned,” Hill said. “The township does not believe changes in response times are going to be an impediment to providing good service.”

Bath Twp. trustees meet at 7 p.m. at the township building, 1006 Yellow Springs-Fairfield Road.

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