LEESBURG — A tentative budget of $345,100 for 2018 was approved by members of the Plain Township Advisory Board Tuesday afternoon.This budget is a $128,000 reduction over 2017. Jerry Kammerer, township trustee, will be presenting the budget to the Indiana State Board of Accounts around Aug. 23.
Kammerer reviewed the budget noting the general fund budget was proposed at $100,100. This included an increase to the cemetery budget from $20,000 to $40,000 as the township has assumed responsibility for the Leesburg and Oswego cemeteries. Previously the township only had responsibility for Monoquet Cemetery. He mentioned he was not sure if the state board of accounts would allow him to increase that budget any higher.
It was noted that the debt service fund, to pay for the Plain Township Service Building that houses the township offices, fire department and Lutheran EMS, will not be needed as the station will be paid off in December. Kammerer added the fire budget is proposed at $76,000. This included increases to the clothing allowance and other expenditures by a total of $6,000.
Other budget items included $65,000 for the cumulative fund, $3,000 for recreation and a decrease in the EMS budget to $45,000. The 2017 budget for EMS was at $80,000. Kammerer noted the 2018 payment to Lutheran EMS for services is $28,125, half of the current payment and in 2019 there will be no charge. He stated the extra money is for garage door repairs, NIPSCO bills, mowing, snowplowing etc.
The rainey day and township assistance funds remained at $10,000 and $46,000 respectively.
During the discussion, Bob Bishop, advisory board member, was concerned how the drop in the budget for 2018 would affect the budget it future years if increases are needed.
Kammerer mentioned he would like to black top the main drives at the Leesburg Cemetery. Tyler Huffer, advisory board member, noted that would be an investment for the township, with Craig Charlton, advisory board member, suggesting that be looked into for 2018. “I don’t believe in refurbishing the stone,” said Kammerer. “I’d rather put in black top.”
Charlton suggested Kammerer see if additional funds could be added to the cemetery budget due to the additional responsibilities and need for improvements. Charlton also suggested adding an additional $35,000. “We’re still down on the tax levy,” Charlton stated adding that amount could have 80-90 percent of the cemetery roads paved, yet keep the tax rate down.
Bishop noted “you never know until you ask,”
During other business the advisory board approved a quote from Ritter Electric Heating Cooling and Plumbing, Inc., Syracuse, in the amount of $21,178.31, to replace the heating and cooling unit on the roof and to install zone controls (installation of thermostats in each room). Huffer voted against the purchase, noting he felt there should have been several other quotes received for comparison. Ritter has serviced the unit for a number of years. Charlton noted when you have a good service provider you don’t change.
A brief update on the fire department was given by Charlton who noted there were a few projects in the works and a few new members added. Bishop noted one of Leesburg’s firefighters was recently hired full time by Warsaw-Wayne Township Fire Department. “I’m not against being a full time firefighter (or department),” he noted, his concern was the shortage it then creates in the local department.
Kammerer noted there is no set date for the next meeting but a public meeting will need to be held regarding the budget. He will advise the board members of that date.