(765) 497-3100 amie@wabashtrustee.com

Tippecanoe County, Wabash Township

2020 Budget

Tippecanoe County, Wabash Township

2020 Budget

Meeting 12/10/19

Meeting 9/17/19

Agenda

Call to order
Pledge
Election of Chair
Welcome Cinnamon (swearing in)
7/16/19 Meeting Minutes
Board Chair opens meeting for public hearing (click to see ordinance)
Update from Chief (Ed Ward)
Budget Presentation (Jennifer Teising, Trustee)
———2019 Review
———2011-2019 Review
———2020 Planning
———2020 Budget Options
———Comparison
———How the loan works
———Next Steps
Reedy Financial
Public Comment
———3 min’s per person
———Questions will be documented and answers provided at adoption meeting
——— 10/15/19 6 PM
———Comments/Questions can be emailed to the trustee        jennifer@wabashtrustee.com
Adjournment

 

Annual Reports – Wabash Township

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

June 2019

Month End Balance Sheet 6/30/2019

2019 Form 1 Budget Estimate

2020 Form 1 Budget Estimate

 

September 17, 2019 Minutes

Wabash Township Board

  1. Meeting was started at 6:04pm by Betz.  
  2. Pledge was said.
  3. Cinnamon was sworn into her board position.
  4. We accepted the minutes unanimously
  5. Chief Ward gave us his update
    1. 917 runs for the year, 59 above this time last year
    2. Emphasized numerous homs having been built
    3. Updated that the five year plan will be complete by the end of the month and will present them to the board
    4. Memorandum of understanding with West Lafayette, Lafayette, Battle ground
      1. Implementation to begin by the end of year
    5. Lindberg fire- undetermined. Many theories, nothing overwhelmingly likely
    6. Expressed need for more manpower
      1. Volunteer turnout is low.
    7. Budget Presentation- Trustee Teising
      1. Open disclaimer that the tax increase would only affect the unincorporated pieces of West Lafayette.
      2. Tax increase that was published was the maximum, because the board can only cut it down from there.
      3. Questions will be recorded and answered in full. 
        1. Brendan will record 
        2. One can email the Trustee: jennifer@wabashtrustee.com
      4. 2019 Review
        1. MOU with West Lafayette, Lafayette, Purdue, and Battleground
        2. Expect 800-1000 new homes in 2020
        3. Volunteer growth has not kept up with township growth
        4. Any tax rate change would only be in the fire section
        5. Mentioned the necessity of an ambulance station at the township firehouse. 
      5. Tax increase of $400,000
        1. Increase would….
          1. Up our reserves to cover 6 months of expensense
          2. Add 2 staff
          3. Add benefits for all full-time staff
          4. Will require a bridge loan
      6. Option 2 tax increase to match 2019 ($200,000)
        1. Cash reserve
        2. Will only cover deficit
        3. Will require bridge loan
      7. No increase in Tax Levy
        1. Reduction of services
          1. Eliminate all paid fire positions
            1. Limited medical calls
          2. Eliminate one township position
            1. Reduction of Township assistance by $15,000
            2. Sell equipment & station 2
      8. Options 1 and 2 require a bridge loan
        1. “Band-aid”
        2. Permanent solution still needs to be found
        3. Debt funds may not exceed max levy
  6. Reedy Financial
    1. Chair Tran asked that we come up with a cap for the fee for the next meeting and that that be added to our next meeting’s agenda (October 15th 2019)
    2. The board unanimously passed and signed the agreement to open discourse with Reedy Financial Group P.C.
  7. Public comment
  8. Meeting adjourned 7:09 PM

September 17, 2019 
Questions

 What is a fire district and what is a fire territory? (Cinnamon)  https://www.in.gov/dlgf/9136.htm

What percentage of our calls are medical? (Cinnamon)
 70%. The national average for agencies responding to fire and EMS who do not transport is 80%.

Ballpark figure for the fixed fee? (Brendan) 
We did get an invoice for approximately $5,000 for the financial plan and options provided. (Reedy)

Susan Doster 
Why not seek funding from the county safety tax 
We submitted a request for $180,000 from the county public safety tax by the deadline in July. I have been told this will not be voted on in 2020 and we would need to do an additional request for funds in July 2020 for 2021. Chief Ward and I plan to attend the next public meeting for the county council and ask them to vote on our request. I believe a lawyer could help us resolve this issue if necessary. We will continue to ask for support from the public safety tax every year.

 

Why add ambulance services now while Saint Franciscan will be opening a standalone ER. Specific break-down of funding for ambulance and what it will be spent on.
The last we heard the Saint Franciscan project is on indefinite hold. Ambulance services is an option that we will be analyzing with a financial consulting firm as one of the options available besides raising taxes to help fund the fire department.  We are unaware of the intent of the stand-alone ER bringing ambulance service with it, if we are transporting emergency patients to this ER due to it’s being a scaled down ER with less services and very few (if any) beds to house patients long-term)

Brenda Francis

You are unaffected by the tax increase…
I care deeply about the first responders that the people of Wabash Township have placed in my care. They deserve the dignity of retirement, healthcare and time off. Their families deserve to have security and peace of mind. I pay a tax rate much larger than Wabash Township so that the people working in public safety in West Lafayette have these benefits and I am happy to do so. 

 

Patty Mason  

We had excess funds to carry over. The fire fund has been spending more than it’s receipts 8 out of the last 10 years. 
Why do you have the 10k poor relief reduction in the fire relief tax section?
Depending on the boards decision regarding the emergency fire loan we may have to allocate local income tax to cover the deficit. This could have an impact on multiple funds including township assistance. These are all just options of actions the board could take. They will not be taking all of them so the scenario will change.  

56 People assisted or applications this year?  
People assisted. The slide is an apples to apples comparison of people assisted. The only difference is that 2019 is not over so we expect the final numbers will be higher as we continue to help people throughout the year. 

How did you decide on Reedy Financial. What options did you look at? Where there public bids?
Reedy was recommended by another township and the other companies contacted could not meet the deadline . We do not have a contract with Reedy for 2020 at this time. Bids will be requested and the board will make that decision later in the year. 

Who is on your board? Could not find any record of the form 100R.
Cinnamon Gallatin, Elizabeth Tran, Brendan Betz

Who is your township attorney?
The township does not have an attorney on retainer.

Who is your clerk?
I handle the accounting for the office.

What percent of the medical runs are to Heritage Health Care (for lifting assistance?)
Very few. We can try to sort out the lifting assistance calls but this would take some time. When we go to Heritage Health Care for lifting assistance, it is because the ambulance is unable to lift the patient alone and the patient leaves by ambulance to the hospital.

What percent of the medical runs are for the “frequent Flyers” who have multiple calls within short periods of time (week)?
We have one household that we have engaged law enforcement and adult protective services to assist us with trying to find long term placement for the patient at that address.

If the MOU with WL Fire goes into effect, will they be taking care of the medical runs to Heritage Healthcare? At what cost to the Township?
Yes closest agency will be doing these runs. No money will be exchanged between departments.

Why didn’t the township insurance (or other driver at fault insurance) cover the replacement cost of the truck which was damaged in the accident?
It did.

Why did you have $15K going to Township Assistance fund from the Firefighting levy?
We don’t.

Are you going to open a totally unnecessary food pantry in the station?
I disagree that being concerned with food insecurity of township residents is totally unnecessary. We are definitely amenable to assisting residents with food. I have spoken to Katie Bunder the CEO of Food Finders and have discussed this possibility. We have no immediate plans at this time.

Where do you send people to work off assistance? How much has been worked off so far this year?
We do not have workfare. $0 have been repaid to the township.

Never did get an answer to township assistance numbers– are the numbers applications or number of recipients?
Households.

Why did you not consider the beginning year balances in your slide presentation, and ending year balances as well– only receipts and disbursements?
The cash balances are shown in the annual reports. That was not the point I was trying to make. The cash balance in the fire fund at the beginning of 2019 was $67,161.68.

David Byers

What percent salary increase are we looking at for you?  
2% across the board for everyone. It is approximately a $700 increase for the year.

Can we say what our cost per run is?  
The International Association of Fire Chiefs cautions against trying to factor a ‘cost per run’ due to having so many moving parts (especially for a volunteer agency).  As an example, the cost for a lifting assistance call is drastically different than the cost of responding to the Lindberg Village fire. And even those exact same examples could be different based on the number of paid firefighters on-scene. There are two different calculations that are normally used to figure ‘cost per call’.The simplest calculation, this takes the fire department’s operating budget, which was approximately $234,600 in 2018 — and divides by the total number of calls for service, which was roughly 1,200 in the same period. The result is an average cost of $195.50 per incident. The capital cost of building fire stations or buying engines isn’t included in the cost, but it does take into account the time and expense of training, prevention efforts and other costs associated with running the department.Cost assigned per incident: This method, which the fire department uses when it does any kind of cost recovery, tries to account for the actual hours of labor used for an average incident, along with the cost of the fire engine used on the call, but ignores the cost of building and maintaining fire stations and paying firefighters while they are waiting for the next call. Unfortunately, this is an incredibly difficult method for WTFD to use to get a fair depiction of our true cost per call.  This is generally figured assuming minimum staffing for an engine (2 firefighters, 1 officer, 1 engineer) and each of them have different hourly pay-rates.  Those pay rates are combined and then divided by our average call length of about 24 to 28 minutes and it would generate a value.  It is difficult for us to use this method because WTFD doesn’t typically respond with this minimum staffing and with the majority of those responding are volunteers who do not receive an hourly rate. 

Full benefits for full-time staff, is that for fire or for the full staff load?
The trustee already receives retirement benefits so this would be added for full time firefighters. The Trustee and full time firefighters would be eligible for health insurance benefits. 

Why aren’t you working with Bill Jones?
Bill Jones was offered a contract with Wabash Township in the first week of my term. He declined because of a conflict of interest.

Rick 
Are you aware of how much a family plan costs on average for insurance (19 k for a family, per Keiser family health)? 
Yes, that sounds about right. Our first action will be to ask the county to join the health care program. This would be very cost effective. If that request is turned down then we will need to get quotes from other companies. 

Will you try to match West Lafayette’s salaries for their firefighters? 
That is not our intent for this budget but to move in that direction. We are so behind adding paid staff that we feel it is paramount we hire staff before raising salaries significantly.  We do however have to keep an eye towards paying our full-time firefighters a wage and benefits as well as a solid work environment that will help us retain them and not lose them to higher paying departments.  If we don’t keep this in mind, it will end up costing us significantly more in constantly training new firefighters. 

Can Saint Franciscan cover the ER load in the area, or is that really an onus on the township?  
No ER and Ambulance services are different. We are unaware of TEAS plans. This will be part of the process for analyzing ambulance services.

What is a bridge loan?  
A loan for the township to pay its expenses while waiting on the tax levy

Can the township issue Bonds.  
No, we don’t have that authority.    

Fire Station 2 houses a fire truck will we keep that fire truck?  
Once the board makes a decision regarding the budget which would determine the need to sell equipment. Chief Ward and his staff are continually evaluating the needs of the department.  This includes equipment that they may need to better complete their jobs as well as evaluating the needs of equipment that is currently owned.

Grant Kepner

Will West Lafayette try to annex larger parts of the township?
 We are unsure of their long term plans. There is not an active plan at this time. In the last West Lafayette City Council meeting, Councilman Norris Wang asked Fire Chief Tim Heath if his department was staffed to handle all of the new high-rise buildings that have been built within the city.  Chief Heath’s response was “No!”.  Their priority is to be prepared and to provide the highest level of service to the areas that they already serve.

Will projected growth in tax revenue cover the services (fire, ambulance etc…)?  
No. We are already behind and will just continue to fall further behind. We must have a long term solution for how we will continue to add staff to the fire department if we are going to keep the service level where it is. 

Mike Francis

Pay higher ISO ratings if we sell the station/equipment – 
Yes ISO ratings will be affected if we have to sell equipment or buildings and is one of the important aspects of the budget for the board to consider.  ISO ratings are incredibly important and we currently have an ISO rating of 4/4Y which is incredible.  It’s important to note that ratings is calculated by examining three areas- the fire department itself, the community water supply and emergency communications.  While it is true that the rating could potentially drop by the loss of a station and equipment, the rate could also significantly increase as we add full-time staff.  We appreciate you pointing this out to us, but it is something that we’ve been continually evaluating as we have navigated this process.  It’s also important to note that the option to sell Station 2 and that equipment was an absolute “Worst Case Scenario” view of what can potentially occur if nothing changes with our budget.

 

Meeting 10/15/19

Agenda
10/15/2019

6:00 – Call to order
6:01 – Pledge
6:05 – 9/15/19 Meeting Minutes
6:10 – Board Chair opens meeting for public hearing
6:10 – Jennifer Teising, Trustee
Review of previous meeting
2020 Budget Options
Comparison
Remonstrance
6:15 – Jim Lewis, Deputy Chief
6:18 – Kevin Keckler, Deputy Chief
6:21 – Ed Ward, Chief
7:10 – Public Comment
3 min’s per person
Comments/Questions can be emailed to the trustee jennifer@wabashtrustee.com
TBD – Adjournment

Patti Mason questions via email

Who is on your board? Could not find any record of the form 100R.
Cinnamon Gallatin, Elizabeth Tran, Brendan Betz

Who is your township attorney?
The township does not have an attorney on retainer.

Who is your clerk?
I handle the accounting for the office.

What percent of the medical runs are to Heritage Health Care (for lifting assistance?)
Very few. We can try to sort out the lifting assistance calls but this would take some time. When we go to Heritage Health Care for lifting assistance, it is because the ambulance is unable to lift the patient alone and the patient leaves by ambulance to the hospital.

What percent of the medical runs are for the “frequent Flyers” who have multiple calls within short periods of time (week)?
We have one household that we have engaged law enforcement and adult protective services to assist us with trying to find long term placement for the patient at that address.

If the MOU with WL Fire goes into effect, will they be taking care of the medical runs to Heritage Healthcare? At what cost to the Township?
Yes closest agency will be doing these runs. No money will be exchanged between departments.

Why didn’t the township insurance (or other driver at fault insurance) cover the replacement cost of the truck which was damaged in the accident?
It did.

Why did you have $15K going to Township Assistance fund from the Firefighting levy?
We don’t.

Are you going to open a totally unnecessary food pantry in the station?
I disagree that being concerned with food insecurity of township residents is totally unnecessary. We are definitely amenable to assisting residents with food. I have spoken to Katie Bunder the CEO of Food Finders and have discussed this possibility. We have no immediate plans at this time.

Where do you send people to work off assistance? How much has been worked off so far this year?
We do not have workfare. $0 have been repaid to the township.

Never did get an answer to township assistance numbers– are the numbers applications or number of recipients?
Households.

Why did you not consider the beginning year balances in your slide presentation, and ending year balances as well– only receipts and disbursements?
The cash balances are shown in the annual reports. That was not the point I was trying to make. The cash balance in the fire fund at the beginning of 2019 was $67,161.68.

 

Who is the Deputy Trustee?
Who is the clerical assistant?
The township office staff are Amie Mullikin (DT) and Evalyn Starkey (CA)

What were the professional services of $4K for?
Here are the transactions so far in 2019
19123_4 01-11-19 1247 INDIANA TOWNSHIP ASSOCIATION INC 25.00
19148_4 01-25-19 1593 EMILY CARTER 100.00
19433_4 06-07-19 1605 BALL EGGLESTON PC 636.00
19501_4 07-22-19 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 333.90
19589_4 08-21-19 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 143.10
19649_4 09-30-19 1624 CHAR’S ACCOUNTING SERVICES 135.00

Here are the transactions for 2018
18820_4 06-05-18 1277 BILL JONES 600.00
18818_4 06-05-18 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 47.70
18861_4 07-09-18 1247 INDIANA TOWNSHIP ASSOCIATION INC 380.00
18919_4 08-27-18 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 47.70
18979_4 10-23-18 1285 REGIONS BANK 45.00
19020_4 11-20-18 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 47.70
19036_4 12-01-18 1277 BILL JONES 600.00
19108_4 12-12-18 1592 L&R COMMUNICATION SPECIALISTS LLC 150.00

Here are the transactions for 2017
18080_4 01-20-17 1507 PURDUE UNIVERSITY 175.00
18126_4 02-26-17 1502 HOFFMAN LUHMAN & MASSON PC 160.00
18146_4 03-06-17 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 23.85
18271_4 06-08-17 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 47.70
18285_4 06-27-17 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 47.70
18312_4 07-06-17 1277 BILL JONES 600.00
18299_4 07-06-17 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 23.85
18419_4 10-04-17 1377 KAREN CADLE 117.53
18444_4 10-29-17 1285 REGIONS BANK 45.00
18517_4 12-06-17 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 47.70
18566_4 12-11-17 1235 ALLTEK SOLUTIONS GROUP LLC 23.85
18572_4 12-12-17 1277 BILL JONES 600.00

Board Questions

Did the deficit result from overspending in 2019? 
The budget that was set for 2019 used cash value from some of the funds (spent more than received). The deficit has been occurring for ten years. The new board and trustee have allocated an additional $10,000 to township assistance. No other additional money has been allocated for 2019 and the budget of the previous administration has been followed. 

Can property taxes from future predicted growth of the township be used to fix the deficit and properly fund the fire department?
No. The fire department is in a crisis, this can not be solved by adding additional responsibilities at the current tax rate. A permanent solution must be found. 

Can the tax be added incrementally, with the emergency fire loan being taken out in steps in sequential years?
Yes. This is our plan. If the township board and residents decide that they do not want to reduce services we plan to increase the budget each year (starting in 2020) until a permanent tax rate is set by creating a fire district or territory.  So the 2020 budget is the first increment. In 2021 It will potentially double again and 2022 potentially double again. In 2023 we would set the permanent solution in place which would double the budget one last time. 

How will the township pay for the loan and does that payment account for accrued interest?
The state will collect additional property tax to pay the loan. Interest will be paid as the loan is with a private bank. The payment will happen in 2021 after the state has collected the property tax. At this time this is the only temporary solution the state has provided. 

Can we use funds from the recently approved public safety tax?
Yes. We have requested money from the public safety tax and will continue to do so every year. We asked for $180,000. 

Karmen Vandewalle

From what I can tell, property tax collection for the township taxes from 2018 to 2019 increased by over $160,000. Next year, with a .07 increase in the rate, with just the same amount of assessed value you will get an increase of another $588,000. There should be an increased assessed value in addition to your current assessed value. Why does Wabash Township need a $750,000 (figured without additional property tax) increase in taxes from 2018 to 2020? 
Tax rates are adjustable based on assessed value. The total dollar amount from the ordinance for appropriation and tax rates that is approved is the max the township will receive in any year. Once approved budget is submitted the DLGF will review and make a final determination.

Why is the budget for the township going from $117,368 in 2019 to $202,347 in 2020? This is a 72.4% increase? 
Yes, see the 2020 Form 1 link above. 

Is there a breakdown of the costs for the emergency fire loan? If a fireman is paid $50,000 annually and given benefits of even 50% of that (liberal amount), then it costs $75,000. Two of them would be $150,000 plus the $50,000 for the benefits of the other two current fireman.  Please breakdown how you plan to spend the $400,000.
Yes, see the 2020 Form 1 link above. 

 

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