In a court document filed Tuesday, the Carthage Twp. trustees deny the township still owes money for services provided by the Coolville Volunteer Fire Department.

The Messenger previously reported that the fire department filed a lawsuit July 12 in Athens County Common Pleas Court alleging the township failed to pay the department for fire services provided in 2018.

At issue is $42,400 in 2017 taxes collected in 2018 on a Carthage Twp. fire levy.

Coolville firefighters have served Carthage Twp. for many years, but Carthage formed its own department that began operations on Jan. 1 of this year.

The lawsuit claims the trustees breached a Nov. 6, 2017 contract under which the Coolville department provided services in 2018. The contract states that the township would pay “the sum of all monies generated from fire protection levies in Carthage Township.” Services were provided, but the lawsuit claims the money is still owed.

It has been a months-long dispute, with an issue becoming whether the township paid for 2018 services in advance, or owed the money after services were provided.

“Carthage has paid any and all amounts owed to plaintiff for services provided by plaintiff to Carthage,” the lawsuit response states, denying there was a breach of the contract. The response also denies the fire department should receive any money as a result of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit lists the Carthage Twp. Board of Trustees as a defendant, as well as Robert Pullins, Ranson Callaway and Chris Nutter in their official capacities as trustees.

The township is being represented in the lawsuit by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office. The fire department, a nonprofit entity, is being represented by private counsel.

srobb@athensmessenger.com; Twitter @SteveRmessenger

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