505.371 Joint fire district creation.

(A) The boards of township trustees of one or more townships and the legislative authorities of one or more municipal corporations, or the legislative authorities of two or more municipal corporations, or the boards of township trustees of two or more townships, may, by adoption of a joint resolution by a majority of the members of each board of township trustees and by a majority of the members of the legislative authority of each municipal corporation, create a joint fire district comprising the municipal corporations and all or any portions of the townships as are mutually agreed upon. A joint fire district so created shall be given a name different from the name of any participating township or municipal corporation.

(B) The governing body of the joint fire district shall be a board of fire district trustees, which shall include one representative from each board of township trustees and one representative from the legislative authority of each municipal corporation in the district. The board of fire district trustees may exercise the same powers as are granted to a board of township trustees in sections 505.37 to 505.45 of the Revised Code, including, but not limited to, the power to levy a tax upon all taxable property in the fire district as provided in section 505.39 of the Revised Code. The board of fire district trustees may be compensated at a rate not to exceed thirty dollars per meeting, not to exceed fifteen meetings per year, and may be reimbursed for all necessary expenses incurred. The board shall employ a clerk of the board of fire district trustees.

(C)

(1) The board of fire district trustees may establish reasonable charges for the use of ambulance or emergency medical services. The board may establish different charges for residents and nonresidents of the district, and may waive, at its discretion, all or part of the charge for any resident of the district. The charge for nonresidents shall be an amount not less than the authorized medicare reimbursement rate, except that if, prior to February 4, 1998, the board had different charges for residents and nonresidents and the charge for nonresidents was less than the authorized medicare reimbursement rate, the board may charge nonresidents less than the authorized medicare reimbursement rate.

(2) In the resolution creating the joint fire district, the political subdivisions that create the district may provide that any of those political subdivisions may agree to pay any charges for the use of ambulance or emergency medical services that the board of fire district trustees establishes under division (C)(1) of this section and that are incurred by the residents of the particular political subdivision. Unless the board elects pursuant to that division to waive all or part of the charges for the use of ambulance or emergency medical services that any resident of the district incurs, the residents of a particular political subdivision that has not so agreed to pay the charges for the use of ambulance or emergency medical services incurred by its residents shall pay those charges.

(3) Charges collected under division (C) of this section shall be kept in a separate fund designated as the ambulance and emergency medical services fund and shall be appropriated and administered by the board. The fund shall be used for the payment of the costs of the management, maintenance, and operation of ambulance and emergency medical services in the district.

(4) As used in division (C) of this section, "authorized medicare reimbursement rate" has the same meaning as in section 505.84 of the Revised Code.

(D) Any municipal corporation or township, or parts of them, may join an existing joint fire district by the adoption of a resolution requesting such membership and upon approval of the board of fire district trustees. Any municipal corporation or township may withdraw from a joint fire district created under this section, by the adoption of a resolution ordering withdrawal. On or after the first day of January of the year following the adoption of the resolution of withdrawal, the municipal corporation or township withdrawing ceases to be a part of such district, and the power of the district to levy a tax upon taxable property in the withdrawing township or municipal corporation terminates, except that the district shall continue to levy and collect taxes for the payment of indebtedness within the territory of the district as it was comprised at the time the indebtedness was incurred.

Upon the withdrawal of any township or municipal corporation from a joint fire district created under this section, the county auditor shall ascertain, apportion, and order a division of the funds on hand, including funds in the ambulance and emergency medical services fund, moneys and taxes in the process of collection, except for taxes levied for the payment of indebtedness, credits, and real and personal property, either in money or in kind, on the basis of the valuation of the respective tax duplicates of the withdrawing municipal corporation or township and the remaining territory of the joint fire district.

When the number of townships and municipal corporations comprising a joint fire district is reduced to one, the joint fire district ceases to exist by operation of law, and the funds, credits, and property remaining after apportionments to withdrawing municipal corporations or townships shall be assumed by the one remaining township or municipal corporation. When a joint fire district ceases to exist and an indebtedness remains unpaid, the board of county commissioners shall continue to levy and collect taxes for the payment of that indebtedness within the territory of the joint fire district as it was comprised at the time the indebtedness was incurred.

(E) Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief of a joint fire district be a resident of the fire district.

Effective Date: 01-25-2002