GREENVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- Saturday afternoon, at the Greenville Volunteer Fire Department, fortunately, volunteers were there.
"It's a medical call, and the crew that just left will be able to make it, so I don't have to," said Chief Kent Monohan as a crew left the station to help a woman who had fallen.
Unfortunately for Monohan, that's not always case. Sometimes, volunteers aren't at the station. Sometimes, they're at home or their day-jobs and use precious time before they can respond to a fire, a medical call, or another emergency. There aren't too many of them in the first place either.
"We have very few people that are able to, I'm not saying they're not willing to, but they're not able to volunteer anymore," said Monohan.
Equipment at the department has lagged behind too.
The "jaws of life" were purchased in 1989 and have trouble piercing metal of newer cars. Some of the fire trucks are old as well.
Days ago, WDRB first reported about the chief's petition to start a taxed fire district here with paid firefighters. However, since then, Monohan says he's heard "whispers" of rumors develop from those opposed to paying more in property taxes.
"Nobody wants to pay more tax," the chief said. "I don't want to."
Monohan says some have suggested that people in Greenville could avoid an increased tax burden if a neighboring department covered calls in Greenville.
"Dept. A cannot afford to merely take-over Greenville Fire Department at no cost to the residents, and the taxpayers of Dept. A township will certainly be unwilling to subsidize Greenville Township fire protection, and rightly so," he wrote in a post on Facebook. "The current tax rate for Dept. A will be extended onto the property owners that reside in Greenville Township. It could also be set to a higher rate, only time could tell what that might look like. But by then, it would be too late."
Monohan says others have suggested fundraiser dinners to lessen the tax burden.
"That's an awful lot of spaghetti," the chief said. "That's an awful lot of fish."
Ultimately, he believes a more "palatable" solution, without a tax increase, will be hard to come by.
"A new tax will be forthcoming!" he wrote on Facebook.
But Chief Monohan thinks any new tax would still be a bargain for the people who live in Greenville. He says the average homeowner could see a $200 increase in property taxes but says that number will go down in the second year. He says insurance rates could also decrease as the area's fire protection becomes better as a result of the addition of around-the-clock coverage.
"When people drive past the firehouse ... any firehouse in Any-town, USA ... they think the firehouse is manned by professional men and women that are ready to come when they call 911," he said.
Monohan said the department will need 560 signatures to move the plan forward to its next steps. Saturday, he said me he hopes to have all of them within ten days.
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