Village and town officials convened Monday to hear public input on a proposed self-governed joint fire district that would protect much of the town and village of Victor.
Town Board members voted almost immediately to approve the formation of the district, which would be empowered to levy taxes to cover the cost of fire protection.
Village officials wanted to have leasing specifics regarding the fire station and fleet mapped out more clearly before signing on the dotted line. It’s a process that could take a few weeks or several months, according to Mayor Gary Hadden.
Monday’s public hearing followed several years of consolidation talks between Victor village and town officials and Fishers Fire District officials. The proposed three-entity consolidation ended abruptly March 20 when Fishers fire commissioners rejected a plan to dissolve the fire district and merge with the Victor Fire Department. Now just two municipalities need to agree and approve the new district, which would then move forward by permissive referendum.
“I attended a number of their meetings and spoke openly,” said Victor Supervisor Jack Marren of the Fishers Fire Commissioners on Monday. “I think financially they felt they had money in their reserves. The village’s department is still in debt for a few more years. And I think it comes to identity and it was a change they weren’t ready for.”
Mayor Gary Hadden said the sticking point may have come down to a difference in philosophies.
“I think they felt uneasy that we have such a strong volunteer staff and they are basically a paid staff,” said Hadden. “They believe paid people are the way to go… I never understood that.”
Both Marren and Village Trustee Mike Crowley emphasized that it was Fishers personnel who initially instigated the proposed consolidation.