All four parties have now signed the agreements for fire protection service from the Shipshewana Fire Department.
At Thursday’s Shipshewana Town Council meeting, Town Manager Mike Sutter announced that the town had received signed agreements from Clay, Newbury and Van Buren townships. The council voted to sign the agreement as well.
Sutter noted that getting to this point had been “a long, difficult process.”
Two of the three townships had originally rejected the proposed agreement late last year, citing changes that would have dropped the fire service fees. The town adopted a user-based fee structure in January that would have covered the fire service areas.
A special public meeting was held in February as the townships and the town worked to sort out the differences. Following the public meeting, township trustees and Sutter met and reportedly came to a compromise.
However, in early March, the town received the agreement from the townships with changes made to it. The council was told then that due to the changes, there was no agreement. The town made its own addition to the revised agreement and sent it back to the townships, which approved the agreement as presented.
Sutter told the council that the agreement is now contingent on “timely remittance” by the townships. “They are accountable to pay those bills,” Sutter said.