May offers legislative fix for township fire contract disputes

Posted by: Brenda Holmes  | Tuesday, January 23, 2018

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 23, 2018) — State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) is working to help resolve township fire contract disputes more quickly.

May proposed legislation that would empower township boards with more fiscal oversight before a township enters contract negotiations with a volunteer fire department for critical fire and emergency services.

“The failure to reach a contract agreement regarding fire protection can result in costly legal fees and, most important, put public safety at risk,” May said. “Under this proposal, before any taxpayer dollars are spent on contract negotiations, the township board would have to approve the township trustee’s appointment of an attorney.”

May said House Bill 1125 would require the township trustee to provide the township board with a cost estimate for legal fees associated with negotiating a fire or emergency service contract before hiring an attorney. Upon the township board’s approval, the trustee could then hire an attorney or pay legal fees related to contract negotiations.

The bill would prevent township trustees from paying for legal fees out of funds dedicated by the township board to pay for fire services without the board’s specific approval. In addition, this proposal would require contracts between townships and volunteer fire departments to clearly delineate the fixed term of the contract and whether it can be renewed or extended.

The House of Representatives voted in support of May’s proposal, which can now move to the Senate for consideration. To learn more about this and other proposals for new laws, visit


State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) represents House District 65, which includes all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.

A high-resolution photo of May can be downloaded by clicking here.



PHOTO CAPTION: State Rep. Chris May (R-Bedford) presents House Bill 1125, which would help resolve township fire contract disputes.