By Ray Balogh
SYRACUSE — Turkey Creek fire territory and township advisory boards on Monday, Aug. 16, approved the fire department’s 2022 operations and equipment replacement budgets, both in unanimous votes.
Last month both boards authorized sending the proposed budgets to the Syracuse town council for approval, which was granted at the council’s July meeting.
The operations budget totals $2,231,891; the equipment replacement budget, $425,000.
Monday’s approval allows those amounts to be included in the township’s budget, which is scheduled to be presented next month, according to Township Trustee Julie Close.
The boards also approved an expenditure of $5,660.72 from the equipment repairs line item to J&K Communications for replacement of backup battery systems in all four of the township’s outdoor warning sirens.
Fire Chief Mickey Scott presented his July monthly report:
• The department responded to 28 fire calls and 118 EMS calls during the month, bringing the year-to-date total to 892 emergency runs, an average of nearly five runs a day.
• Department personnel completed 313 hours of training on topics such as building construction in large-span structures, dispatch procedures, door removal with spreaders and cutters, hood and truck entry techniques, extrication from vehicles, conducting EMS demonstrations and administering medications.
• With more than half the fiscal year elapsed, the department has utilized about 45% of its operating budget allocations.
Scott also reported, “We are continuing to move forward and conduct extensive research regarding our department making the transition to the new emergency radio communication systems along with other departments in Kosciusko County.”
In addition, “Provisions for communications in both Elkhart and Noble counties must be made within our system, as we interact often with other emergency services in those adjacent counties, as well as several other agencies within our area and region.
“There are many things to be considered when determining the frequencies of other emergency service providers to be programmed into our radios, how to group them together and how our department can operate most efficiently on the new radio system to gain the greatest advantage we possibly can with the systems in the most cost-effective manner.”
Scott said “hours and hours” of work has gone into the project and predicted “many more hours” of research on the issue. He is working with other agencies to obtain grants for the purchase of the new communications equipment.
The township advisory board passed a resolution authorizing the implementation of a three-year capital improvement plan, which will be submitted to the state to obtain budget approval.
Funds include rainy day, general, recreation and fire territory general and equipment replacement.
Close presented her financial report for July. The territory disbursed poor relief of $400 for rent, $2,793.24 for utilities and $798.90 for food.
The fire board will next meet at 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 13, in Syracuse Town Hall. The township advisory board will meet at 7 p.m.