Poyner Township may end fire service with City of Gilbertville - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Poyner Township may end fire service with City of Gilbertville

by Danielle Wagner

GILBERTVILLE (KWWL) On January 4th, Poyner Township sent a letter ending its service with the Gilbertville Fire Department effective in June.

Fire Chief Bob Demuth said the letter surprised him, but he plans to follow the request.

"According to our city attorney, we have to proceed as if Poyner Township has withdrawn from fire protection," said Demuth.

Right now, the Gilbertville Fire Department provides protection to Gilbertville and the townships of Poyner, Cedar and Fox. Each pays a fee to have the fire service.

Demuth said the cost is based on a state formula of taxable value of property, number of calls and population.

If Poyner Township withdraws from the agreement, the cost will go up for the other two townships and the City of Gilbertville.

But Chief Demuth said the people in Poyner Township will end up paying more too.

"They're insurance goes up if response time for fire departments is longer," said Demuth.

He said for many people in Poyner Township, the Gilbertville Fire Department is able to respond the fastest, which he said is very important during a fire.

"A fire doubles every minute. Say it's a five the first minute then it's a 10, 20, 40. So it's very fast spreading," said Demuth.

Poyner Township can take back it's withdrawal letter, but would likely need to do so before budgets are set in the middle of March.

KWWL spoke on the phone with both trustees for Poyner Township. One of the trustees told me he couldn't say very much at this time, but he did say there are discrepancies in terms of the number calls the Gilbertville Fire Department responded to in Poyner Township last year.

The fire department said it responded to 76 calls last year, 28 of those in Poyner Township. The trustee said that doesn't match up with numbers the township has, and since that does play a role in cost, he hopes to get the issue worked out.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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