RAWSON — Trustees from Union and Van Buren townships and village council members from Jenera, Mount Cory and Rawson voted Wednesday night to establish a new Southwestern Hancock Joint Fire District.
The joint district will encompass the Union Township-Rawson, Union Township-Mount Cory, and Jenera fire departments. It is expected to save money, reduce duplication of equipment, and provide an equal tax base for fire services.
The joint district’s creation is effective Jan. 1, according to the joint resolution, and the district will be responsible for fire protection in those villages and townships starting April 1, 2019.
That gives the district time to get a levy on the ballot, though the new entity’s existence does not depend on passage of a new tax.
If a levy is not approved by district residents, the district’s participating entities would provide funding in proportions based on real estate value: Union Township, 42.41 percent; Van Buren Township, 26.55 percent; Jenera, 8.91 percent; Mount Cory, 9.41 percent; and Rawson, 12.72 percent.
For fire levy purposes, those townships and villages will be one entity, so a tax could pass district-wide even if the majority of voters in one location are against it.
The joint district will be governed by a five-member board: John Wilson of Van Buren Township; Triena Miller, Mount Cory; Carolyn Ferris, Rawson; Jeff Augustine, Union Township; and Rebecca Jones, Jenera.
Board members will serve three-year terms and be appointed by their respective trustee boards and village councils.
The board will hire a clerk and fire chief and set their salaries.
Courier reporter Kathryne Rubright will have more on Thursday.