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Dousman-Summit fire merger approved

VILLAGE OF DOUSMAN - The governing bodies of the communities of Dousman, Ottawa and Summit have unanimously agreed to merge the Dousman and Summit fire districts.

Effective in 2013, each community's share of the operating costs of the newly consolidated department will be determined by a formula based on the population of each community, the number of fire and ambulance calls in each community, and the value of each community's residential and commercial structures, excluding land.

The Village of Summit and the Town of Ottawa agreed to allow the formula to be phased in over a five year period because it will result in a $50,000 increase in fire and medical emergency response costs to the Village of Dousman.

Despite the intial cost increase, Dousman officials believe the consolidation will help the village reduce potential costs for fire and emergency medical services in the future.

The phase in period will end if, and when, Dousman Village trustees can impose a special service fee on not for profit institutions owning land  in the village. 

Those institutions do not  directly contribute to the costs of emergency services because they are exempt from real estate taxes.

The Three Pillars Masonic Retirement Community  often uses medical emergency services provided by the Dousman fire district.

The revenues from the fees are intended to help the Village of Dousman recover some of its costs of the consolidation. The consolidation is expect to save the Town of Ottawa between $35,000 and $50,000 over the next five years and the Village of Summit between about $25,000 and $35,000 during the same period.

The new department will be governed by a five member board appointed by the three communities.

The Village of Summit which will intially provide about 54 percent of the revenues for the new department will be represented by two members of the board.

The Town of Ottawa which will provide about  23.5 percent of the revenues will also be represented by two members.

The Village of Dousman, which will provide about 22.5 percent of the revenues, will be represnted by one member of the board.

The three communities are expected to begin early next year working on a formal agreement and new by laws for the department.

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