Boroughs make fire service offer

Emsworth and Ben Avon officials this week approved an offer to provide joint fire services to Kilbuck Township.

Kilbuck’s fire company will disband Sept. 1 due to a lack of volunteers. Township officials voted last month to accept proposals from other area fire companies for coverage of Kilbuck.

The proposal now on the table comes from the two adjacent communities whose fire companies have entered into a study to consolidate their departments.

Emsworth and Ben Avon propose splitting coverage of Kilbuck, with Emsworth’s fire department answering calls in the area of Plumer Avenue and west, and Ben Avon taking the eastern half of the township.

Each community will charge Kilbuck $13,000 per year as part of a five-year agreement, for a total of $26,000 per year. They also want to receive any state fire relief funds due Kilbuck, and will divide them evenly between the two boroughs.

Emsworth and Ben Avon have offered to cover fire calls in Kilbuck from Sept. 1 through the end of this year at no monetary charge, but, according to Emsworth Council member Paul Getz, Kilbuck will be expected to donate equipment. What that equipment will be remains to be seen, however, and will depend on how the Kilbuck fire company handles its current obligations.

The Kilbuck firefighters already have offered to donate the fire hall property to the township. They originally planned to sell the property to pay off a $69,000 debt remaining for a firetruck purchased by the fire company, but township officials say firefighters now will sell the truck itself.

Ben Avon Council member Todd Smith said that the free service through December is contingent upon Kilbuck signing the five-year service agreement.

Both communities are setting the $26,000 price on the number of businesses and residences currently located in Kilbuck. They have reserved the right to renegotiate the price if 10 or more new homes are built in Kilbuck, or a commercial building in excess of 5,000 square feet is built.

The offer to Kilbuck was approved by Ben Avon Council at its regular meeting on Tuesday, while Emsworth Council held a special meeting the same night to do the same. The Kilbuck Township Supervisors will meet July 28.

Google Video