When: Paradise Township Supervisors Meeting, March 15.
What happened: Council voted 4 to 1 with Ray Rice opposed to temporarily halting funding for the Township of Paradise/Leaman Place Fire Company for the next 90 days.
Context: Last year, after learning that Gordonville Fire/EMS Company and Paradise/Leaman Place Fire Company were both planning to erect new buildings within a mile of each other, Paradise Township supervisors began to study the possibility of merging these two fire companies. as Kinzers Fire Company, which also provides fire cover in the township. An Emergency Services Consolidation Task Force has been formed to study the potential for consolidating the three companies to improve services and share resources for the benefit of the township. The task force did not recommend consolidation, but noted the friction between Gordonville and Paradise.
Position of the municipality: The council said it still believes consolidating the fire companies is in the best interests of the township. Gordonville and Kinzers are open to the idea of a consolidation, but Paradise/Leaman Place have opposed joining. Earlier this year, supervisors restructured the township’s first coverage map to eliminate Paradise/Leaman Place. Now the territory of the township is divided between Gordonville and Kinzers, a small part going to the Bart Township Fire Company.
The cost: The Township pays approximately $70,000 annually to Paradise/Leaman Place Fire Company, including fuel, truck payments and maintenance, workers’ compensation and liability insurance, and training. The Paradise/Leaman Place Fire Company is still in operation, but it is not the first company contacted when a 911 call is made in the township.
Why it matters: Motion by Supervisor Marlin Groff temporarily ends Paradise/Leaman Place Fire Company’s financial support, except for insurance to continue for 30 days to allow time for fire company to replace policies if she wishes.
Quoteable: “Why do we continue to fund Paradise (Fire Company) when they want to be independent so badly,” Groff said.
What happens next: The reduction in funding is temporary and will be reviewed in June. Meanwhile, negotiations for the consolidation of fire companies continue with Gordonville and Kinzers.
Other events: The council voted to announce a change in ordinance to separate the positions of township manager and roadmaster which are currently a combined position.