The city of Oakwood is exploring the possibility of creating its own fire department.
City Manager B.R. White said the project has always been on the backburner for the city council. He said they were in the initial investigative phase with consultants scouting locations and providing a cost analysis.
“It kind of moved to the front burner just recently because we’ve been able to pay off major road projects, and there’s money that they want to reallocate to make some improvements within the city,” White said.
The city would create its own citywide fire tax district.
“We know that just to get into the game it’s going to be about $8-10 million just to start up, but if we create our own fire tax district, we’ll be able to lower the millage rate to what the unincorporated millage rate is in the county,” White said.
According to 2018 figures provided by White, the unincorporated fire tax millage rate was 2.65, and the incorporated millage rate was 4.08.
If the city moves forward following the consultants’ final analyses, it would likely be another 24 months before any sort of groundbreaking and another year after that to be fully operational.
Assuming two stations are built, White said there would be 30 people needed to staff the department.
White said the council believes that it is “time to move forward with many of the capital projects which have been in the queue” while interest rates remain low.
“The council wants the businesses, industry and citizens to continue to have access (to) the best possible fire and emergency protection, while keeping the current (Insurance Services Office) rating and fire tax low,” White wrote in an email.