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Liberty Township Trustees Tackle EMS Dispute

Liberty Township

At a meeting Tuesday evening, Liberty Township trustees will again wrestle with how best to deliver EMS services. The feud centers on whether to maintain paramedics as part of the local fire department or to rely on the county.

A Delaware County report last year suggested centralizing emergency services at the county level could save money. When Liberty Township chair Melanie Leneghan began looking into the idea, locals were quick to push back. Leneghan insists she’s not trying to eliminate EMS.

“I have never publicly said I want to replace our EMS and I want to replace it now," Leheghan says. "I have only said I am exploring all and considering all opportunities to improve your service level."

Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Leneghan expressed optimism for a decision that would keep the current EMS structure intact.

“It is looking like we are going to be able to repair these internal issues, these problems, we’re going to be able to fix what’s broken, and keep our EMS,” Leneghan said.

Fellow trustee Shyra Eichhorn rejects the idea that the current arrangement is somehow flawed.

“Of course you can always tweak it and make it a little bit better, so I think it’s important that we’re always looking at ways to do that,” Eichhorn says. “There definitely has been a misconception where people have been saying it’s broken when it has not been.”

Leneghan says even if the board were to determine the county should handle EMS, she would push for a ballot measure.

Meanwhile, Eichhorn contends residents have already made their feelings clear, when 75 percent of voters approved the last fire and EMS levy in 2017.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.