The Ventura Protective Association and Ventura City Council have begun talks which will likely result in the transfer of ownership of the fire department July 1, 2014.
Ventura Fire Chief John Quintus explained the Protective Association, formed in 1946 and one of only a handful of private entities to offer fire service, cannot continue to survive due to growing financial demands. Members of the group have voted to disband July 1, 2014. The City of Ventura would begin ownership of the department at that time, the start of the fiscal year.
“Nothing will change when this happens,” said Quintus. “Our volunteer members will continue to serve. Our equipment is still there and we remain ready to respond.”
The Ventura department currently serves the City of Ventura as well as portions of Clear Lake Township, Grant and Union Townships, all in Cerro Gordo County, as well as Ellington in Hancock County.
Tuesday, Oct. 29, Quintus and VPA trustees, along with Ventura city leaders met with township trustees to discuss contracts for fire service the VPA provides. The City of Ventura, as well as Townships had been informed their fees would be increasing to support a capital improvement fund for the fire department.
Quintus said the VPA owns its land and building, and makes payments on a fire truck, along with insurance and other operating costs out of its $45,000 yearly budget. The rising cost of equipment and insurance does not leave the department with any money to place in an account for future equipment needs, he said. To address its financial needs, the group decided to increase its budget to $90,000, with the additional monies going to a capital improvement fund. The $90,000 budget was divided among the areas served by the VPA and a Oster formula based upon population, property valuation and call volume was used to calculate new contract for service amounts.
The new fees, effective July 1, 2014, are: Clear Lake Township, $42,551; City of Ventura, $31,939; Union Township, $11,158; and Grant Township, $4,351. Presently the City of Ventura pays $12,500 for the contract and an additional $10,000 per year towards a truck. Union Township now pays $5,960, Clear Lake Town - Read More Via e-Edition