Gratis Township meets after 23 of 26 firefighters resign from West Elkton Department; Adkins replaces Thomas as trustee

By Austin Schmidt - [email protected]

GRATIS TOWNSHIP — The Gratis Township Trustees elected Chad Adkins to replace Jerry Thomas during their meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

Thomas resigned earlier in the month.

Adkins joins the trustees in a time of turmoil, as the township is currently attempting to replace some of the 23 fire fighters who resigned from the West Elkton Fire Department recently.

The resignations left the department with three members and shifted primary responding duties to the Gratis Fire Department.

Adkins’ term will run to the end of 2015 as he fills the remaining term left by Thomas, who resigned following the resignations of the 23 fire department members.

Once the term ends, Adkins will have to seek election through the voting process.

The board also approved a decision made in executive session giving the Gratis Fire Department the remaining $23,500 of their $44,500 budget for 2015. Originally, trustees had elected to give the Gratis Department $21,000 of their $44,500 budget at the beginning of the year.

The decision was an attempt to get both departments to a budget close to $60,000 a year, as a levy in the Village of Gratis sends about $16,000 a year to their department.

One resident asked trustees how the township was being covered for fire and rescue currently. The question was re-directed to Gratis Fire Chief Andy Cook, who informed the resident the township is divided into four quadrants with surrounding departments, based on proximity who have agreed to provide mutual aid if possible.

West Elkton Mayor Bill Crawford said his fire department has received four new applications of fire fighters wishing to join.

Crawford also presented the idea of moving one of the Gratis EMS units to the old West Elkton Fire Department to create a north and south EMS unit for Gratis Township.

Trustee Jeff Lynch said he liked the idea, but said there were several legalities to go through before any decision could be made in regard to creating a north and south EMS.

Crawford also informed the trustees a new walking track about a half mile long is currently being built at the community park and should be completed in the coming days.

Gratis Township Trustees meet every third Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Gratis Township building located on Gratis Road between Gratis and West Elkton.

By Austin Schmidt

[email protected]

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-456-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.

Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-456-4062 or on Twitter @aschmidt_RH.