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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Shawswick/Guthrie Fire Territory Will Bring 24 Hour Fire and County Ambulance Service Coverage

BEDFORD - (February 21,2022) - Members of the Shawswick Fire Department Board, Shawswick Township Trustee / Advisory Board, Guthrie Township Advisory Board and represenatives from Reedy Financial Group P.C. advised those in attendance about the proposed Shawswick/Guthrie Township Fire Territory.

(Shawswick/Guthrie Fire Territory the Sunny Acres Drive Fire Station will be manned with four fighters and a dedicated ambulance for Lawrence County)

According to Bobby Brown Fire Chief of the Shawswick Township Fire Department the process started about eight years ago. Brown who has served more than 41 years on the fire department told those in attendance it's to sustain fire protection and ambulance service in Lawrence County.

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Shawswick Volunteer Fire Department took over fire protection for Guthrie Township back in 2016.

Over the last three years the run volume for the fire department has hit a peak of 550 runs in 2019, 640 runs 2020, and 703 runs in 2021. " These runs are not all attributed to COVID-19 but has cost the department a lot of money to supply masks, gloves and suits to protect personnel from EMS responses.

Shawswick Fire Chief Bobby Brown explains the need for 24-hour fire and EMS coverage for Shawswick Township

" Our volunteers have done this for nothing only receiving a $200 clothing allowance a year," said Chief Brown.

" We do this for the people, and we want the best service to provide the residents of both Shawswick and Guthrie Townships,"

Proud sponsor of the Lawrence County Zephyr

Cost of fire engines now are $400,000 to $500,000 with fire trucks alone, without any fire hoses or other equipment on the trucks. Firefighting protection gear includes, $3,500 in turn-out gear, $9,000 for SCBA 's and the equipment must be replaced every ten years by mandated regulations.

The fire protection plan calls for the staffing of four full time firefighters who are also either an emergency medical responder, or EMT. One EMT must be on duty at all times to staff an ambulance that will be housed at the 1327 Sunny Acres Fire Station.

" This is a step in the right direction, many departments have closed their doors, and went bankrupt across the state," said Nick Hubbard Guthrie Township Advisory Board member.

(The public listens to fire and township officials on the need for 24-hour fire protection coverage)

Due to the increase in lack of county ambulance service coverage, the need for a dedicated 911 ambulance service is now. Brown pointed out yesterday that two Jackson County Ambulances had to respond to emergency medical responses in Lawrence County.

Lawrence County along with several counties throughout the southern part of Indiana is facing this problem of not having 911 ambulances available.

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According to Brown a private ambulance service did not have two ambulances fully staffed in Lawrence County but was dedicated to service in North Vernon for over nine hours.

" We have been waiting for over 45 minutes for ambulances from near-by counties to respond to residents in our coverage area,"

The proposed fire territory will have an impact on taxpayers in both Shawswick and Guthrie Townships.

Proposed Fire Territory tax impact:

General Fund: Budget: $673,290 Tax Levy: $630,000 Projected Tax Rate: - .2493

Cumulative Fire Fund: Budget: $78,000 Tax Levy: $84,139 Projected Tax Rate: .0333

Debt Fund: Budget: $82,800 Tax Levy: $89,872 Projected Tax Rate: .0356

Totals: Budget: $834,090 Tax Levy: $804,011 Projected Tax Rate: .3182

Taxpayers Monthly Impact

Residential - $50,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $1.76 Guthrie Twp. $1.95

Residential - $100,000 Assessed Value Shawsick Twp. $5.76 Guthrie Twp. $6.40

Residential - $150,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $11.47 Guthrie Twp. $12.75

Agriculture - $100,0000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $17.57 Guthrie Twp. $19.54

Agriculture - $200,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $35.15 Guthrie Twp. $39.08

Agriculture - $250,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $43,93 Guthrie Twp. $48.86

Commercial - $100,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $17.57 Guthrie Twp. $19.54

Commercial -$200,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $35.15 Guthrie Twp. $39.08

Commercial - $300,000 Assessed Value Shawswick Twp. $52.72 Guthrie Twp. $58.63

Projected Overlapping Unit Impact on Local Income Tax

Lawrence County Impact from Local Income Tax - loss of $51,201

Bono Township - loss of $48

Guthrie Township - loss of $16,809

Indian Creek Township - loss of $281

Marion Township -loss of $874

Marshall Township - loss of $496

Perry Township -loss of $189

Pleasant Run Township - loss of $271

Shawswick Township - gain of $112,611

Spice Valley Township - loss of $273

Bedford Civil City - loss of $45,234

Mitchell Civil City - loss of $7,247

Oolitic Civil Town - loss of $765

North Lawrence Community School Corporation - Loss of $5,273

Mitchell Community Schools - loss of $2,833

Bedford Public Library - loss of $6,620

Mitchell Community Public Library - Loss of $1,718

Lawrence County Solid Waste District - $6,197

At this time, it is not known whether the Shawswick Volunteer Fire Department will receive any public safety income tax revenue once the fire territory is formed. The majority of the Public Safety Income Tax is given to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and Lawrence County Jail for their operations.

The Public Safety Income Tax Funds came after the volunteer fire departments had to ask for the funds following a special tax that was implemented to help the City of Bedford Fire and Police Department fund staffing levels, and Lawrence County Sheriff Department for staffing and jail.


The volunteer fire departments in 2020 received the following money which is determined by a committee. The public safety committee is not known to the Lawrence County Council members nor who serve on the committee. The formula for distribution of those revenues is also not known to the public.

  • Indian Creek Township - $5,828.22

  • Marion Township - $18,546.20

  • Marshall Township - $8,557

  • Perry Township - $3,985

  • Pleasant Run Township - $5,840.84

  • Huron VFD $3,761.78

  • Shawswick Township - $37,031.41

  • Oolitic Volunteer Fire Department does not receive any public safety funds from the Town of Oolitic or Lawrence County

Marion Township receives public safety funds for Bono Township and Shawswick Township Receives public safety funds for Guthrie Township

The Shawswick/Guthrie Township Fire Territory debt service will help purchase an ambulance for the fire department.

The next hearing will be held on March 7, at 6:30 p.m. at 1327 Sunny Acres Drive and Monday March 21, 6:30 p.m. at the same location.

Once the public hearings are held, a adoption of the fire territory will be held by both Shawswick and Guthrie Township advisory boards to adopt a resolution for the fire territory. The fire territory will become active on January 1, 2023, should both legislative bodies accept the proposal.

" I believe we have one the best fire departments in the State of Indiana," said Millard Jones Shawswick Township Trustee.

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