Columbus Township looks to save taxpayer money by hiring part-time firefighters

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BATHROLOMEW COUNTY, Ind. -- A battle is brewing in Columbus Township as the township board looks to save taxpayer money and it could cost five full-time firefighters their jobs.

The proposal calls to replace the five full-time firefighters with a part-time staff. The plan would keep the chief in a full-time position and according to the township board, save taxpayers a quarter of a million dollars.

But the chief of Columbus Township Fire & Rescue says that move would jeopardize public safety and increase response times, but a township advisory board member says that’s not true.

“The safety will still be there. The response time will still be there. Nothing will change. You’ll just go to part-time firefighters at $15 an hour," said township advisory board member, Jimmy Green.

The fire chief says the department has a rating in the top 12 percent of all fire departments in the state and all full time firefighters hold several certifications.

“It’s our job to protect the community. That’s what they’re paying us to do. We just want to be able to do it to the best of our ability and not let those tools slip away from us to be able to do that," said Chief Dave Thompson.

The proposal will be heard at a public meeting on September 6. The Columbus Township Board will then make its final decision on September 20.

Click here for more information from the fire department.

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