Buena Vista Township won't merge police, fire departments for now

The Buena Vista Township Fire Department works at the scene of a house fire.
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BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (1/8/2020) - Buena Vista Township will not create a combined public safety department -- at least for the near future.

Township leaders announced the decision Wednesday after residents in the township spoke out against the proposal.

RELATED: Buena Vista holds town hall meeting over proposed merger of fire and police departments

Township Manager Torrie McAfee said the township is concentrating on negotiations with police officers right now as they try to hammer out a new contract. She said reducing pension costs is one of the sticking points.

Township leaders had been discussing a plan to merge the police and fire departments into a combined public safety department. Some police officers and firefighters would be cross-trained to do both jobs.

The township was proposing a combined department with seven full-time firefighters, six cross-trained public safety officers, three full-time police officers and 20 paid on-call firefighters.

With Wednesday's announcement, plans to merge the departments won't proceed for the foreseeable future.