Three fire departments in Butler Township prepared to merge
By Rick Wills
Published: Saturday, June 29, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Three of the five volunteer fire departments in Butler Township plan to consolidate by early next year, officials there say.
Consolidation of the Greenwood Village, Lyndora and Meridian volunteer fire departments will improve response times and eventually save the fire companies money, township Manager Ed Kirkwood said.
“The departments think consolidation means that there will be better response time for the community. There will be more of a concentration of membership in one station. They can answer calls more efficiently,” Kirkwood said.
Butler Township has five volunteer fire departments. The Mercer Road Volunteer Fire Department and the South Butler Volunteer Fire Department plan to stay independent.
Under the plan, the consolidated department will be run out of the Meridian Volunteer Fire Department. The Lyndora Volunteer Fire Department will serve as a substation, and the Greenwood Village Volunteer Fire Department would close.
The township has conducted several public hearings on the merger. According to Kirkwood, there has been little opposition to the plan.
“We've had some residents question whether the township plans to cut back funding for fire departments. We do not,” Kirkwood said.
The township gives each of its five fire departments $61,912 annually.
That money is generally used for day-to-day expenses and not for equipment, Kirkwood said.
The real savings will come as the department buys equipment, which is often paid for with money fire departments raise with carnivals and gun bashes.
“The three fire companies all planned to buy a new engine in the next four years. Engines cost about $750,000. Buying three would cost $2.25 million, but they will only need one engine,” Kirkwood said.
The plan also would not reduce the number of volunteers, said Toby Wehr, chief of the Meridian department and one of about 20 members of a commission formed late last year to plan the consolidation.
“We always want as many members as possible.
It's become harder in recent years to keep members,” Wehr said.
There are 38 volunteers at Meridian, 18 at Greenwood Village and 14 at Lyndora.
With 17,285 residents, Butler Township is more populated than the city of Butler, which has 13,757 residents and a paid fire department.
“We rely on volunteers. We have not had problems with it. Membership has gone down, though,” Kirkwood said.
Wehr and Kirkwood said they expect the merger will save money, but do not know how much.
“One department will cost less, especially as far as future purchases of equipment go.
“We will not have to duplicate expensive equipment the way we do now,” Wehr said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tax hike could hit Seven Fields business owners
- Butler officials consider county’s 2014 budget options
- Harmony’s village post office open for business
- Population of most Butler County communities slowly gets older
- Homebrewers pour their hearts into Butler competition
- Several area colleges working together to educate at Cranberry campus
- Glass-blowing open house in Hilliards to be offered next weekend
- 4-H members from Butler County excel at state show
- Lighting of menorah in Cranberry meant to promote unity
- Butler County holiday happenings
- Chamber program aims to spread word about Butler County’s offerings