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Dalton votes to pull out of East Wayne Fire District

DGKN staff report

DALTON  After nearly 10 years of being part of the East Wayne Joint Fire District, Dalton Village Council voted Dec. 27 at a special meeting to withdraw from the district leaving the village of Marshallville as the sole member, which dissolves the fire district.

The resolution approved by the majority of Dalton Village Council states “Village Council has determined it is no longer in the best interest of the Village to remain a member of the EWJFD.”

Council President Pat Sword read a statement with reasoning behind pulling out of the district and clarified that his comments were not directed at the hard-working first responders but rather the “dysfunctional” board. He gave examples outlining the financial irresponsibility of the situation, as well as litigation and investigations EWFD has faced over the years.

At a meeting the week before, council voted to authorize the mayor to establish a new fire department in the village of Dalton but council did not approve any of three other resolutions the village was considering regarding fire and emergency medical services.

Council also passed a resolution Dec. 27 to appoint a medical director, which is required for a pharmaceutical license for the new department. Mayor Dennis Finley told council about a doctor who volunteered to be a medical director from Aultman and University Hospitals and is the same medical director as for Kidron Volunteer Fire Department.

According to a recording available on the village website at, Dalton Village Council President Pat Sword made the motion to pass a resolution as an emergency measure to withdraw from the fire district effective June 30, 2023. North Lawrence Fire Department was not mentioned in the resolution that passed. Council previously was considering a contract with North Lawrence as part of an option to serve the village while a new Dalton Fire Department is established.

Sword will serve as a village council representative on the EWFD board since council member Jim Bucklew resigned from the board last week. Dalton community representative Don Matz resigned publicly from the board last week as well. Village council still needs to appoint an interim chief for the new department that will be established. Fire and rescue services have been a topic of discussion at five Dalton Village Council meetings over the past two and a half weeks.

Council member Steve Rabatin was not in attendance at the Dec. 27 special meeting and council member Blake Nussbaum II said the idea for the village to form its own fire department had merit but he had questions and concerns and he voted against passing items as emergency measures without three readings.

In response to questions, Tonya Rogers, outside legal counsel hired by the village, explained that by voting on the resolution this year allows the village to withdraw from the district next year. Otherwise, if council were to vote on the issue in 2023 the earliest Dalton could withdraw from the district is Jan. 1, 2024. Taxes collected from the East Wayne Fire District levy will be reapportioned back to the village.

Dalton Village Council will have a reorganizational meeting Jan. 9. Marshallville Village Council’s next meeting also is Jan. 9.

Read more in the Jan. 4, 2023 edition.

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