In February 2019, the cities of Mt. Healthy and North College Hill passed a resolution to form a combined fire and rescue district in an effort to better provide for the health and safety of both cities. Known as the Hilltop Joint Fire and Rescue District, it is operated by a Board of Trustees that contains a total of seven members, some professional and some civilian, from both cities. Although there is still much work to be done on the Hilltop Joint Fire and Rescue District, residents and employees of both cities are working hard to make it happen.
Below is a word from our fire chief, Steve Lawson, regarding the Hilltop Joint Fire and Rescue District:
I would like to take the time to thank our City Council for passing the resolution to form a joint fire district (JFD). As many people may or may not know, North College Hill (NCH) and our city hired a consultant (Management Partners) last year to help guide our two cities through the process of establishing a JFD. Bill Kocher and I, with NCH city manager and fire chief, met many times throughout 2018 to help the consultant with information they asked for. A final report was written by the consultant and copies were given to both councils for review. The consultant gave a presentation at one of our council meetings and NCH’s council members were in attendance. Both councils met in a special meeting to discuss the resolution that was drafted by NCH’s law director. During that meeting changes were made to satisfy both councils.
The resolution was given to both councils to vote on to form a JFD and both City Councils passed the resolution.
We are now at the point where a board of seven people will be appointed to form a fire board. The resolution states that the mayor, one council member and a citizen will be appointed by both cities. Mayor James Wolf and Council Member Bob Parsons have been appointed, and the citizen appointed is Paul Young III. NCH will appoint the same and once the six people are appointed, this board will pick a seventh person that will be a citizen from either city.
It will be the responsibility of this board to decide on how much money it will take to fund the JFD. In the resolution it states that the levy cannot exceed 14 mils. They will decide on the hiring of personnel; fire chief, full-time personnel, part-time personnel and all other aspects of operating a fire department. The board will have to pick a date to put the JFD on the ballot.
My goal is to keep everyone up to date as this process continues.
-Steve Lawson, Chief, OFE
To view a draft of the Hilltop Joint Fire & Rescue District By-Laws, click HERE.