One month into the new year, Turkey Creek Township Trustee Barb Griffith has already made what will likely be her largest single expenditure of 2016.
Griffith told the township advisory board Monday, Feb. 8, she applied the $35,000 balance of the township’s rainy day fund toward the purchase of the fire department’s new grass truck.
The money has rested in the fund since the Turkey Creek Fire Territory was established in 2006.
“When we went into the fire territory extra money was left in the fire funds that were held because there was a question whether we were liable for worker’s compensation and wages before the fire territory was established,” Griffith explained.
No one made a claim for any of the deposited funds for nine years, “so we gave the leftover funds back to the fire territory,” she said.
The board also addressed the Syracuse Town Council’s failure to nominate the board’s fifth member. According to the governing local compact, the board and council each appoint two members to the five-member board and fill the fifth position “by concurrence.”
Board member Steve Snyder’s term expired Dec. 31, though he can serve an additional 60 days according to state law. The township board renominated him last year to serve another term, but the town council has failed to either ratify that nomination or suggest an alternative candidate.
Township attorney Andrew Grossnickle noted the fifth board member “has to be a taxpayer within the territory,” a qualification met by Snyder.
“We put forth our effort and they have not even made a suggestion,” said board member Kimberly Cates, who wondered, with other members, whether the board would be “inoperable” with only four members after the 60-day period.
Grossnickle said he would urge the council to place the item on their Tuesday, Feb. 16, meeting agenda. “We may have to ask a court to intervene,” he said.
“I don’t have a problem with that,” said Cates. “Basically they are the ones forcing the hand on that.”
Fire Chief Mickey Scott presented January’s budget expenditures in his board report. Overall the department spent 5.3 percent of its allotments with 8.3 percent of the year elapsed.
Two line items required anomalous expenditures. The department spent more than 10 percent of its budget on medical supplies. “We had some outdates we had to take care of,” Scott explained.
The administrative services line item experienced a 35 percent ding to make a bond payment for recent paving at the territory’s two fire stations.
Otherwise “there are no red flags” in the budget, Scott said.
Scott also reported:
• The department made 15 fire and 82 EMS runs in January.
• Several department members have been out with non-work related injury or illness, but all are expected to “return to their full capacity as firefighters and EMTs.”
• The new grass and brush fire truck has been has served as a snowplow to clear the fire station lots. “This has worked out very well for us thus far,” Scott said.
• Indiana Department of Natural Resources has issued “guidelines to judge the safety of fresh solid ice.” People are urged to stay off ice 1 inch thick or less. Other activities require thicker ice: ice fishing (4 inches), snowmobiling (5 inches), car or light truck (8 inches) and medium weight truck (10 inches). Generally, said Scott, “If in doubt, don’t go out.”
The board next meets at 7:15 p.m. Monday, March 14, at Syracuse Town Hall.