Concern was raised over the city's plan to team with Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District
Hillsboro Council held their regularly scheduled meeting Monday night in front of a packed house of Hillsboro Fire Fighters and supporters. They were there to express their concern for the City's decision to join the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District, the move could potentially eliminate some of Hillsboro's City firefighter positions.
Many citizens spoke in support of the firefighters and most wore matching bright yellow t-shirts that said "Council Vote No, Save the Hillsboro Fire Department". Those in attendance included former Fire Chief Jerry Powell who politely requested the City keep Hillsboro's Fire and EMS services.
Mayor Drew Hastings stated the City would save over 1/3 of a million dollars in the first year of the joint district plan and over $1.5 million in four years. City Auditor Gary Lewis said the City has had a deficit in the general fund for the past five years and if council does not do something soon, the general fund will be less than $400,000 dollars at the end of the year.
Council President Lee Koogler said this was the first reading for the resolution, but he believes Council will hold special meetings to review it in the next two weeks. Council would then put the resolution in place by the end of July.
Mayor Drew Hastings would like to see the plan put into place for a period of three years. He stated "this is an evolution in services" and "any other choice would be irresponsible " He also said in addressing Council and the public, that this is a time of uncertainty and instability and stated "my motto is save our City and if we don't have a City, then the Fire Department doesn't have a City to save."
Mayor Hastings did confirm the the fire station in Hillsboro will be staffed and the equipment probably retained. He also announced that he has spoken with Larry Flowers on the matter who expressed support for the recommendation of moving to a joint district format.