Portage and Warren Township fire territories to merge

NOW: Portage and Warren Township fire territories to merge

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Warren and Portage Townships have agreed to merge their fire departments into one, the St. Joseph County Fire Territory, in hopes to better protect neighbors.

After four public hearings they came to a unanimous vote Thursday evening, despite taxpayers' worries about seeing increases.

Personal and commercial property taxes are estimated to increase about 21% in Warren Township and 13% in Portage Township.

Homeowners with properties over $150,000 shouldn’t see an increase due to a state tax cap.

Those under the threshold in Warren could see up to a $180 increase and in Portage a $100 increase.

In turn, the merger will bring competitive firefighter wages, starting at $75,000 a year.

It’s expected to lead to stronger training and faster response times.

As demand grows across the county, the hope is more townships will look to join the territory.

"We're talking about saving lives here, that is what it is absolutely about. In the end, it’s about getting you the help when you need it,” said Jason Critchlow Portage Township Trustee.

 A full financial breakdown given at the meeting can be found below.

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