Decision to join the fire territory benefits Boonville - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Decision to join the fire territory benefits Boonville

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Both the City of Boonville and the fire department are said to be benefiting from a decision two years ago when the fire department officially became part of the Boon Township Fire Territory.

That decision to include the fire department in the fire territory two years ago has since allowed the department to buy new equipment, hire more workers, and become more efficient.

Chief Byers says the move has ultimately saved lives within the community.

Chief Byers says the fire department will receive a new fire truck at the end of this month, to replace the one that's over 30 years old.

"It's had a rebuilt motor, transmission, pump. You know, we're constantly having to put money into it. So, it is time for it to be replaced," Chief Byers says.

Since 2011, the department has gradually made upgrades. It's added new equipment and three new firefighters, which has allowed it to make more medical runs with Warrick EMS. All thanks to its inclusion in the Boon Township Fire Territory.

"Being able to make more medical runs, we've, I think we're serving the taxpayer a whole lot better than what we were. There's no doubt about it, that it, you know, it's saved lives," Chief Byers says.

To make the fire territory a reality, township taxes had to be raised, but fire territory president Kevin Derr says the tax burden has been equal for both those living in and outside of Boonville.

"Before, we had this bifurcated rate, where city payers paid a much larger rate and township payers paid a much lower rate. We were able to lower the city rate and slightly raise the township rate, and increase overall revenues," Derr says.

At the time of the decision, township residents were upset over the tax hike. But Derr and Byers both say the long-run benefit has been worth it.

"I think it's a great decision. We can guarantee that we're going to protect the investment of anybody who comes to town, because we've got a great police force and now a better fire department," Derr says.

Derr says those township rates may soon drop, while they maintain the fire territory. As he says a commission has been started to try to get more fire hydrants out to rural areas, thus dropping homeowner's insurance rates for people throughout the township.

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