IBERIA — The Iberia Volunteer Fire Company has been providing fire protection service to the village of Iberia and surrounding townships for the past five decades.
But the department is facing the need to change to continue to provide fire protection to the expanding area.
With the needs of the community in mind, the department has been working over the past year to go through the necessary steps to form a new Iberia Joint Fire District.
The Iberia Fire Volunteer Fire Company has been a private company whose current main source of income is contracts with Washington and North Bloomfield Townships and part of Canaan Township.
The need to find other funding sources led to the decision to form a Joint Fire District.
“The current Iberia Fire Company, being a private company, does not qualify for a lot of federal grants,” Hoffman explained. “Becoming a Fire District, a government entity, will qualify us to apply for needed grants.”
Another reason for moving from a private entity to a government entity is to provide liability protection to the firefighters. “The laws just don’t protect the employees of a fire company like it would government employees,”Hoffman said.
The new Iberia Joint Fire District board will consist of five members; Bob Hoffman, Bill Creswell, Cory Miley, John Fox and one yet to be chosen at-large member. Bob Hoffman is the chairman and Steve Smith is the fiscal officer.
As a Joint Fire District, the board must consist of one trustee from both North Bloomfield and Washington Townships, as well as a representative of each township chosen by the trustees and one at-large member chosen by the new Iberia Joint Fire District.
Going forward, the services residents will receive will be the same services, provided by the same people. “We are making a conscious effort to make as little a change as we can,” noted Creswell.
The board shared that current levy monies from the townships will transfer from the Iberia Volunteer Fire Company to the Iberia Joint Fire District. To further explain to the public and answer questions, the Fire Board would like to invite residents to a public meeting at the Washington Township Hall, Cramer Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at 7 p.m.
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