Unity will put funds to use

EAST PALESTINE – Unity Township is giving away money that has compounded in its fire district fund over the last few years.

East Palestine Village Manager Pete Monteleone said the township has included an additional $90,000 in its annual contract for fire services this year.

The township contracts with East Palestine and New Waterford for the services and Monteleone said the extra money is for equipment and training only, and Finance Director Traci Thompson is setting up a special fund for that money.

Normally, the township pays $35,000 to each municipality.

Township Fiscal Officer Nancy Herr said an additional $90,000 was also given to the New Waterford department.

She added the extra money is a one-time payment only. The departments will now have $125,000 to work with next year.

“We have had a carryover for several years and it was just building up in there and we thought it would be best used in a contract for training,” she said of the fire district fund.

The township had not previously used the money because trustees in the past had attempted to resurrect the local fire station using those funds, but that idea was later abandoned.

“They had been discussing maybe seeing what it would take to put a station in there again … but it would cost a lot of money to do that,” she said of the former station.

The building used to be owned by the private fire company the township also contracted with in addition to East Palestine and New Waterford, but that ownership was transferred when the company disbanded in the early 2000s.

The building could have been used as a sub station for one of the two contracting departments if trustees had moved forward with the idea of resurrecting the local station, Herr explained.

“We were kind of keeping it for that and decided it would better off funding the two departments we do contract with,” she said.

East Palestine Fire Chief Brett Todd said the department appreciates the gift and that the money will likely be used for new turnout gear and hose fittings.