Tri-Creek area officials urge plan for new fire protection territory
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent November 8, 2012 11:22PM
Updated: November 10, 2012 10:48PM
LAKE DALECARLIA — Officials are looking for resident support as they mount a second attempt at creating a fire protection territory to service the Tri-Creek area.
Lake Dale Fire Chief Ryan Kennedy and Lowell Fire Chief Clint Gorball on Thursday talked about the need for the territory, the process that lies ahead and what residents can do during an information session at the Lake Dalecarlia Volunteer Fire Department.
“I really can’t stress how bad we need this,” Kennedy said.
The proposed territory is the same as proposed in 2010 and would include Lowell and Schneider and West Creek and Cedar Creek townships. The Shelby area is not included in the territory as proposed.
While the Cedar Creek Township Board supports the proposal, Township Trustee Alice Dahl is against it. Shelby and Lowell are both in Cedar Creek Township. Dahl did not attend Thursday’s session.
In order for the territory to gain approval it will need a signed interlocal agreement from all participating government bodies. If Dahl does not change her mind, the proposal must be revised to cut out all of unincorporated Cedar Creek.
“What we are here to try and do is get Cedar Creek Township involved,” Kennedy said, adding Dahl should have attended the meeting to represent her constituents.
Lowell Town Councilman Craig Earley said local officials have known since 2009 the financial problem with the fire departments and EMS were growing and a solution was needed. This is the only proposal that has been presented and it needs to move forward, he said.
“They’ve shown us the problem. They’ve asked for our help,” Earley said of the emergency services providers.
Officials say the fire territory is needed to raise revenue necessary to keep Tri-Creek EMS and the three fire departments solvent as the demand for services continues to grow and the funding diminishes. It is also necessary to ensure staffing of the all-volunteer fire departments during daytime hours, particularly 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., when volunteers are unable to respond.
Kennedy encouraged residents to write or phone Dahl to show support for the plan.