The Fire District today is essentially a municipal water company serving approximately 310 homes and 20 commercial businesses in the Village.

Fire District Merger With Town?


Submitted 2 months ago
Created by
norwichobserver

The Norwich Fire District invited representatives of the Selectboard to attend its September 17 meeting to discuss a possible Fire District merger with the Town.  Michael Goodrich, Chair of the Prudential Committee extended the invite during public comment at the Selectboard meeting on Wednesday, as seen on CATV. Mr. Goodrich did not offer any further details. 

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Selectboard members Linda Cook and John Langhus will attend the meeting and report back to the Selectboard at its regular September 26 meeting. 

The Fire District today is essentially a municipal water company serving approximately 310 homes and 20 commercial businesses in the Village that make up the District.  Revenues are raised through water charges and property taxes that are assessed in its jurisdiction. The Fire District once owned the fire department and village sidewalks. In general, in Vermont, fire districts got their start in the 1800's as a way to provide fire protection services to a hamlet within a town, when those services did not benefit outlying rural areas. See Colchester Fire District No. 1, What Is A Fire District?

The Norwich Fire District got into the water business in 1978, when it acquired the Norwich Water Supply Company, according to a Norwich Times article The Norwich Water Story: “Water is Life”.   "Because the [Norwich Fire District] operated the fire department, the sale seemed like a logical handoff."

The Town took over the fire department in 1989 and took over the remaining sidewalks about a year ago.   

A possible merger presents difficult issues for the Town. The best place to start, I suppose, is past experience. How have other Vermont towns or fire districts dealt with this issue? In June 2018, Barre Town accepted a "deed for the Websterville Fire District after several years spent crafting the merger," reported the Times Argus.  There, however, it appeared all properties in Town were on municipal water systems. 

Anyone know of other mergers? Email me at norwichobserver@gmail.com or leave a comment below 

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POSTED: 09.14.2018 

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