130th Ohio General Assembly
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(124th General Assembly)
(House Bill Number 143)



AN ACT
To amend sections 505.371, 505.375, 505.38, 733.68, 737.08, and 737.22 and to enact section 9.61 of the Revised Code to specify that state law does not require a municipal corporation fire chief to be a resident or elector of the municipal corporation, does not require a township fire chief to be a resident of the township, and does not require a township fire district fire chief, joint fire district fire chief, or fire and ambulance district fire chief to be a resident of the township fire district, joint fire district, or fire and ambulance district.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1.  That sections 505.371, 505.375, 505.38, 733.68, 737.08, and 737.22 be amended and section 9.61 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:

Sec. 9.61.  (A) "Firefighting agency" means a municipal corporation, township, township fire district, joint fire district, fire and ambulance district, or other political subdivision that operates a fire department.

(B) Nothing in the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief of a firefighting agency reside in the territory of the firefighting agency.

Sec. 505.371.  (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 such 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.

Sec. 505.375.  (A) The board of a joint ambulance district created under section 505.71 of the Revised Code and the board of a joint fire district created under section 505.371 of the Revised Code may negotiate in accordance with this section to combine their two joint districts into a single district, called a fire and ambulance district, for the delivery of both fire and ambulance services, if the geographic area covered by the combining joint districts is exactly the same. Both boards shall adopt a joint resolution ratifying the agreement and setting a date on which the fire and ambulance district shall come into being. On that date, the joint fire district and the joint ambulance district shall cease to exist, and the power of each to levy a tax upon taxable property shall terminate, except that any levy of a tax for the payment of indebtedness within the territory of the joint fire or joint ambulance district as it was composed at the time the indebtedness was incurred shall continue to be collected by the successor fire and ambulance district if the indebtedness remains unpaid.

All funds and other property of the joint districts that combined into the fire and ambulance district shall become the property of the fire and ambulance district, unless otherwise provided in the negotiated agreement. The agreement shall provide for the settlement of all debts and obligations of the joint districts.

(B) The governing body of the fire and ambulance district shall be a board of trustees of at least three but no more than nine members, appointed as provided in the agreement creating the district. Members of the board of trustees may be compensated at a rate not to exceed thirty dollars per meeting for not more than fifteen meetings per year, and may be reimbursed for all necessary expenses incurred, as provided in the agreement creating the district.

The board shall employ a clerk and such other employees as it considers best, including a fire chief or fire prevention officers, and shall fix their compensation. Before Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief of a fire and ambulance district be a resident of the district.

Before entering upon the duties of office, the clerk shall execute a bond, in the amount and with surety to be approved by the board, payable to the state, conditioned for the faithful performance of all of the clerk's official duties. The clerk shall deposit the bond with the presiding officer of the board, who shall file a copy of it, certified by the presiding officer, with the county auditor of the county containing the most territory in the district.

The board shall also provide for the appointment of a fiscal officer for the district. The board may also enter into agreements with volunteer fire companies for the use and operation of fire-fighting equipment. Volunteer firefighters acting under such an agreement are subject to the requirements for volunteer firefighters set forth in division (A) of section 505.38 of the Revised Code.

Employees of the district shall not be removed from office except as provided by sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code, except that, to initiate removal proceedings, the board shall designate a private citizen, or, if the employee is employed as a firefighter, the board may designate the fire chief, to investigate, conduct the proceedings, and prepare the necessary charges in conformity with sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code, and except that the board shall perform the functions and duties specified for the municipal legislative authority under those sections. The board may pay reasonable compensation to any private citizen hired for services rendered in the matter.

No person shall be appointed as a permanent full-time paid member of the district whose duties include fire fighting, or be appointed as a volunteer firefighter, unless that person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 or section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program. The board may send its officers and firefighters to schools of instruction designed to promote the efficiency of firefighters, and, if authorized in advance, may pay their necessary expenses from the funds used for the maintenance and operation of the district.

The board may choose, by adoption of an appropriate resolution, to have the Ohio ambulance licensing board license any emergency medical service organization it operates. If the board adopts such a resolution, Chapter 4766. of the Revised Code, except for sections 4766.06 and 4766.99 of the Revised Code, applies to the organization. All rules adopted under the applicable sections of that chapter also apply to the organization. The board may likewise, by resolution, remove its emergency medical service organization from the jurisdiction of the Ohio ambulance licensing board.

(C) The board may exercise the following powers:

(1) Purchase or otherwise provide any fire apparatus, mechanical resuscitators, or other fire or ambulance equipment, appliances, or materials; fire hydrants; and water supply for fire-fighting purposes that seems advisable to the board;

(2) Provide for the care and maintenance of equipment and, for that purpose, purchase, lease, or construct and maintain necessary buildings;

(3) Establish and maintain lines of fire-alarm communications within the limits of the district;

(4) Appropriate land for a fire station or medical emergency unit needed in order to respond in reasonable time to a fire or medical emergency, in accordance with Chapter 163. of the Revised Code;

(5) Purchase, appropriate, or accept a deed or gift of land to enlarge or improve a fire station or medical emergency unit;

(6) Purchase, lease, maintain, and use all materials, equipment, vehicles, buildings, and land necessary to perform its duties;

(7) Contract for a period not to exceed three years with one or more townships, municipal corporations, counties, joint fire districts, governmental agencies, nonprofit corporations, or private ambulance owners located either within or outside the state, to furnish or receive ambulance services or emergency medical services within the several territories of the contracting parties, if the contract is first authorized by all boards of trustees and legislative authorities concerned;

(8) Establish reasonable charges for the use of ambulance or emergency medical services under the same conditions under which a board of fire district trustees may establish those charges under section 505.371 of the Revised Code;

(9) Establish all necessary rules to guard against the occurrence of fires and to protect property and lives against damage and accidents;

(10) Adopt a standard code pertaining to fire, fire hazards, and fire prevention prepared and promulgated by the state or by a public or private organization that publishes a model or standard code;

(11) Provide for charges for false alarms at commercial establishments in the same manner as joint fire districts are authorized to do under section 505.391 of the Revised Code;

(12) Issue bonds and other evidences of indebtedness, subject to Chapter 133. of the Revised Code, but only after approval by a vote of the electors of the district as provided by section 133.18 of the Revised Code;

(13) To provide the services and equipment it considers necessary, levy a sufficient tax, subject to Chapter 5705. of the Revised Code, on all the taxable property in the district.

(D) Any municipal corporation or township may join an existing fire and ambulance district by its legislative authority's adoption of a resolution requesting such the membership and upon approval of the board of the district. Any municipal corporation or township may withdraw from a district by its legislative authority's adoption of a resolution ordering withdrawal. Upon its withdrawal, the municipal corporation or township ceases to be a part of the district, and the district's power to levy a tax on 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 composed at the time the indebtedness was incurred.

Upon the withdrawal of any township or municipal corporation from a district, the county auditor of the county containing the most territory in the district 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 on the basis of the valuation of the respective tax duplicates of the withdrawing municipal corporation or township and the remaining territory of the district.

(E) As used in this section:

(1) "Governmental agency" includes all departments, boards, offices, commissions, agencies, colleges, universities, institutions, and other instrumentalities of this or another state.

(2) "Emergency medical service organization" has the same meaning as in section 4766.01 of the Revised Code.

Sec. 505.38.  (A) In each township or fire district that has a fire department, the head of such the department shall be a fire chief, appointed by the board of township trustees, except that, in a joint fire district, the fire chief shall be appointed by the board of fire district trustees. The Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief be a resident of the township or fire district.

The board shall provide for the employment of such firefighters as it considers best, and shall fix their compensation. No person shall be appointed as a permanent full-time paid member, whose duties include firefighting fire fighting, of the fire department of any township or fire district unless such that person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 or section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program. Such Those appointees shall continue in office until removed therefrom from office as provided by sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code. To initiate removal proceedings, and for such that purpose, the board shall designate the fire chief or a private citizen to investigate the conduct and prepare the necessary charges in conformity with sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code.

In case of the removal of a fire chief or any member of the fire department of a township or fire district, an appeal may be had from the decision of the board to the court of common pleas of the county in which such the township or fire district fire department is situated, to determine the sufficiency of the cause of removal. Such The appeal from the findings of the board shall be taken within ten days.

No person who is appointed as a volunteer firefighter of the fire department of any township or fire district after July 1, 1979, shall remain in such a that position unless either of the following applies:

(1) Within one year of the appointment, the person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 of the Revised Code or division (C)(1) or (2) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program.

(2) The person began serving as a permanent full-time paid firefighter with the fire department of a city or village prior to July 2, 1970, or as a volunteer firefighter with the fire department of a city, village, or other township or fire district prior to July 2, 1979, and receives a certificate issued under division (C)(3) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code.

No person shall receive an appointment under this section after July 1, 1979, in the case of a volunteer firefighter, unless the person has, not more than sixty days prior to receiving such the appointment, passed a physical examination, given by a licensed physician, showing that the person meets the physical requirements necessary to perform the duties of the position to which the person is appointed as established by the board of township trustees having jurisdiction over the appointment. The appointing authority shall, prior to making any such an appointment, file with the Ohio police and fire pension fund or the local volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board a copy of the report or findings of said that licensed physician. The professional fee for such the physical examination shall be paid for by the board of township trustees.

(B) In each township not having a fire department, the board of township trustees shall appoint a fire prevention officer who shall exercise all of the duties of a fire chief except those involving the maintenance and operation of fire apparatus. The board of township trustees may appoint one or more deputy fire prevention officers, who shall exercise the duties assigned by the fire prevention officer.

The board of township trustees may fix such the compensation for the fire prevention officer and the fire prevention officer's deputies as it considers best. The board of township trustees shall appoint each fire prevention officer and deputy for a one-year term. An appointee may be reappointed at the end of a term to another one-year term. Any appointee may be removed from office during a term as provided by sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code. The provisions of section Section 505.45 of the Revised Code extend extends to such those officers.

(C) Division (A) of this section shall not apply to any township having that has a population of ten thousand or more persons residing within the township and outside of any municipal corporation, which that has its own fire department employing ten or more full-time paid employees, and which that has a civil service commission established under division (B) of section 124.40 of the Revised Code. Such The township shall comply with the procedures for the employment, promotion, and discharge of firefighters provided by Chapter 124. of the Revised Code, except that the board of township trustees of the township may appoint the fire chief, and any person so appointed shall be in the unclassified service under section 124.11 of the Revised Code and shall serve at the pleasure of the board. Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief be a resident of the township. A person who is appointed fire chief under these conditions and who is removed by the board or who resigns from the position is entitled to return to the classified service in the township fire department, in the position held just prior to the appointment as fire chief. The board of township trustees shall determine the number of personnel required and establish salary schedules and conditions of employment not in conflict with Chapter 124. of the Revised Code. No person shall receive an original appointment as a permanent full-time paid member of the fire department of such a the township unless the person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 or section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing the satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program. Persons employed as firefighters in such the township on the date a civil service commission is appointed pursuant to division (B) of section 124.40 of the Revised Code shall, without being required to pass a competitive examination or a firefighter training program, retain their employment and any rank previously granted them by action of the board of township trustees or otherwise, but such those persons are eligible for promotion only by compliance with Chapter 124. of the Revised Code.

Sec. 733.68.  (A) Except as otherwise provided by in division (B) of this section or in another section of the Revised Code, each officer of a municipal corporation, or of any department or board thereof of a municipal corporation, whether elected or appointed as a substitute for a regular officer, shall be an elector of the municipal corporation, and, before entering upon his official duties, shall take an oath to support the constitution of the United States and the constitution of this state, and an oath that he the officer will faithfully, honestly, and impartially discharge the duties of his the office to which elected or appointed. Such These provisions as to official oaths shall extend to deputies, but they need not be electors.

(B) Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that a city fire chief be an elector of the city or that a village fire chief be an elector of the village.

Sec. 737.08.  (A) The fire department of each city shall be composed of a chief of the fire department and such other officers, firefighters, and employees as provided for by ordinance. Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief be a resident of the city.

(B) No person shall, after July 1, 1970, be appointed as a permanent full-time paid member, whose duties include firefighting fire fighting, of the fire department of any city, unless either of the following applies:

(1) The person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 of the Revised Code or division (C)(1) or (2) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program;.

(2) The person began serving as a permanent full-time paid firefighter with the fire department of a village or other city prior to July 2, 1970, and receives a certificate issued under division (C)(3) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code.

(C) No person who is appointed as a volunteer firefighter of a city fire department after July 1, 1979, shall remain in such a that position, unless either of the following applies:

(1) Within one year of the appointment, the person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 of the Revised Code or division (C)(1) or (2) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program;.

(2) The person began serving as a permanent full-time paid firefighter with the fire department of a village or other city prior to July 2, 1970, or as a volunteer firefighter with the fire department of a township, fire district, village, or other city prior to July 2, 1979, and receives a certificate issued under division (C)(3) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code.

(D) The director of public safety shall have the exclusive management and control of such other surgeons, secretaries, clerks, and employees, as are provided for by ordinance or resolution of the legislative authority of such the city.

Sec. 737.22.  (A) Each village establishing a fire department shall have a fire chief as the department's head thereof, appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the legislative authority of the village, who shall continue in office until removed therefrom from office as provided by sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code. Neither this section nor any other section of the Revised Code requires, or shall be construed to require, that the fire chief be a resident of the village.

In each village not having a fire department, the mayor shall, with the advice and consent of the legislative authority of the village, appoint a fire prevention officer who shall exercise all of the duties of a fire chief except those involving the maintenance and operation of fire apparatus.

The legislative authority of the village may fix such the compensation as it deems considers best. Such The appointee shall continue in office until removed therefrom from office as provided by such sections 733.35 to 733.39 of the Revised Code. The provisions of section Section 737.23 of the Revised Code shall extend to such the officer.

(B) The legislative authority of the village may provide for the appointment of permanent full-time paid firefighters as it deems considers best and fix their compensation, or for the services of volunteer firefighters, who shall be appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the legislative authority, and shall continue in office until removed therefrom from office.

(1) No person shall be appointed as a permanent full-time paid firefighter of a village fire department, unless either of the following applies:

(a) The person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 of the Revised Code or division (C)(1) or (2) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program;.

(b) The person began serving as a permanent full-time paid firefighter with the fire department of a city or other village prior to July 2, 1970, and receives a certificate issued under division (C)(3) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code.

(2) No person who is appointed as a volunteer firefighter of a village fire department after July 1, 1979, shall remain in such a that position, unless either of the following applies:

(a) Within one year of the appointment, the person has received a certificate issued under former section 3303.07 or section 4765.55 of the Revised Code evidencing satisfactory completion of a firefighter training program;.

(b) The person has served as a permanent full-time paid firefighter with the fire department of a city or other village prior to July 2, 1970, or as a volunteer firefighter with the fire department of a city, township, fire district, or other village prior to July 2, 1979, and receives a certificate issued under division (C)(3) of section 4765.55 of the Revised Code.

(3) No person shall receive an appointment under this section after January 1, 1970, and after July 1, 1979, in the case of a volunteer firefighter, unless the person has, not more than sixty days prior to receiving such the appointment, passed a physical examination, given by a licensed physician, showing that the person meets the physical requirements necessary to perform the duties of the position to which the person is to be appointed as established by the legislative authority of the village. The appointing authority shall, prior to making any such an appointment, file with the Ohio police and fire pension fund or the local volunteer fire fighters' dependents fund board a copy of the report or findings of said that licensed physician. The professional fee for such the physical examination shall be paid for by such the legislative authority of the village.

SECTION 2.  That existing sections 505.371, 505.375, 505.38, 733.68, 737.08, and 737.22 of the Revised Code are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3.  Section 505.375 of the Revised Code is presented in this act as a composite of the section as amended by both Am. Sub. S.B. 5 and Am. Sub. S.B. 30 of the 122nd General Assembly. The General Assembly, applying the principle stated in division (B) of section 1.52 of the Revised Code that amendments are to be harmonized if reasonably capable of simultaneous operation, finds that the composite is the resulting version of the section in effect prior to the effective date of the section as presented in this act.

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