EVFD petitioning for Posey-Taylor fire district
When David Davis first approached the Harrison County Commissioners March 20 to request the creation of a Posey-Taylor Fire District, he left under the impression his request would be granted in April.
Monday night, the Elizabeth Volunteer Fire Dept. was directed by commissioners J.R. Eckart and Jim Heitkemper to petition for the district, something the EVFD now wishes it had done at the start.
If they had, they would not have mailed out 2,150 surveys on or around April 1. Only 235 responded with 180 in support, 53 in opposition and two undecided. And they might have forgone their past three presentations to the commissioners.
James Goldman made the motion to create the district at the March 20 meeting. It failed for lack of second, but Eckart said he would second the motion if Goldman made it again the following month.
That didn’t happen.
After Davis finished his presentation and discussion had concluded at the April 17 meeting, the commissioners voiced possible merits of a countywide fire district and again put Davis’ request on hold to provide time for more research.
Davis left saying, ‘Are you going to call me next time you are ready to take it under advisement?’
When Joe LaPlant appeared on behalf of Davis and the EVFD Monday night to ‘keep the ball rolling’ the commissioners did not appear to have expected to see him so soon.
Heitkemper reiterated what he had been saying all along, that he felt a petition would be best, and Eckart referenced a statement by county attorney Chris Byrd that some, possibly all, of the fire districts had been formed through petition. At least the last two districts in the county were, Byrd said.
LaPlant asked the commissioners to act on the results of the survey and grant his request.
Goldman shared his frustration.
‘They came in and asked us to consider it. We asked for a public hearing. I wanted that. We had it, and there were no objections. We had another and asked for a petition. They did that. Now we are going to give them another hoop to jump through?’ he asked, rhetorically.
There were two public criticisms of the district at the second meeting during which it was discussed. Those individuals agreed that there was a need for increased fire protection but expressed concern regarding the funding mechanism and whether or not outlying homes in the proposed fire district would benefit without the existence of a substation.
LaPlant left Monday night saying EVFD would do whatever was necessary to form the district, including petitioning.
Harrison County Auditor Pat Wolfe said her office was helping EVFD compile the data needed to conduct the petition yesterday. The law requires that 20 percent of freeholders’ (landowners’) signatures are needed to form a fire district.