Video wil be available after the meeting once it is provided by the board.
Minutes wil be available after the meeting once it is provided by the board.
Call to Order.
Public Comment and Communications.
-In light of the extreme emergency facing our State and in keeping with the
Executive Order issued by the Governor, the public will not be invited to
physically attend this meeting but has the ability to view and listen via Zoom
or YouTube and comment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Approval of minutes from the February 9th meeting of the Wabash Township Advisory Board.
Fire Department Update
Discussion of Fire Protection District Feasibility Study
– Feasibility study presented by Township Financial Advisor Gabe Gerth
– Opportunity to ask questions
– Discussion of budget considerations for the 2022 Budget Process
Resolution 2021-4 Resolution Electing to join the 1977 Police Officers’ and
Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund Digest: Resolution would enroll current and future paid firefighters in the Wabash Township Fire Department in the 1977 Retirement Fund, which is similar in nature to 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans.
Presentation of Trustee’s plan to get 20% of Proposed District Freeholders to
Resolution to Move Funds to Cover Cost of Legal Counsel (if agreement has
Future Meeting dates for 2021.
April 20, 2021 – Township Assistance Guidelines and Funding Changes.
January Fire Department Update
3 Special trainings on forceable entry with a state supplied training fixture
February Fire Department Update
2 structure fires, one that completely destroyed a home because the homeowner wasn’t able to make a 911 call. The other fire was three sheds of which we saved the largest and all the animals.
We had our medical director for rescue squad training, and we did exensive RIT and radio training for all members.
We are at 196 runs compared to 179 during the same period in 2020.
Discussion of Fire Protection District Feasibility Study – below is an email I sent to the board Feb 12, 2021 outlining that the board does not play a role in these conversations or meetings. I am not sure why this is on your agenda but I am again requesting that you stay focused on your job duties. If myself and the fire department determine that we are moving forward in a direction then we will hold a public meeting to discuss the options.
from: Jennifer Teising <email@example.com>
to: Wabash Board
cc: Heather Maddox, Angel Valentin, Brendan Betz, Michelle Wietbrock, Kevin Keckler, Jim Lewis, Derek Cook, Shari Hacker, David Hedden
date: Feb 12, 2021, 7:58 PM
subject: Fire District Update
You can find all the information on the impact to the township, why we need the fire district and what happens if we don’t find a long term financial solution in our growing township HERE.
I am writing today to ask for your help to come together for the sake of the township to ensure we can get a fire district approved. I met with some of the Wabash Township Volunteer Firefighter Association officers and they are very concerned that the divisiveness and hostility of the board meetings and the (what I consider to be unfounded exploitative gossip) concerns about where I am working remotely are going to cost the Township the chance to secure the Fire Protection District (FPD). Morale among the firefighters is at an all time low. They feel ridiculed and disrespected by their colleagues and the residents of the township. The paid firefighters are worried about the longevity of their jobs and retirement benefits they have been promised. (I have instructed the above referenced officers to reply all to the email and express themselves if they would like. This is a brief description of my interpretation of what they have shared with me.)
While there has been a strategy at play to attempt to harm my reputation, I want to emphasize that those who are going to be most harmed by this strategy are the township, the residents, paid and volunteer firefighters, and local business owners. Are those individuals comfortable tearing the township apart to get to me?
The emergency loan provided us the funding needed to procure professional financial counsel for a long-term financial plan and to address the budget shortfall for basic operations. Failing to support the long-term sustainability plan recommended by our professional financial counsel, will ultimately result in reducing staff, stripping the firefighter employees of their benefits, and will put the volunteer firefighters and the public safety of residents and business owners at risk in our growing township. The township constituents are relying on us to put their best interests first.
Reedy Financial, understand they are not attorneys but financial counsel who have completed this process before, understand under IC 36-8-11-5 that “Freeholders who desire the establishment of a fire protection district must initiate proceedings by filing a petition in the office of the county auditor.” The trustee has the spending authority for requesting the financial study to establish a FPD and to organize a process to accomplish the required signatures. To be clear, the board does not have a role in these matters. However, I know that you care about the township and are concerned with the plans moving forward. With that in mind, I’d like to let you know the steps for fire district approval:
- Review the Tax Analysis of a Fire District (trustee public meeting, see #1 in timeline)
- Review the Fire Department Budget for accuracy (meeting between trustee and fire department, see #2 in timeline)
- Petition the public for support of the fire district (requirement: 20% of the land owning population in the proposed fire district)
- Petition is sent to the County Auditor
- County Auditor presents the petition to the Commissioners
- County Commissioners responsible for verifying the signatures
- Ordinance process begins
7a. Public Meeting with public comments and feedback
7b. Commissioners vote
- Review meeting (Reedy is working on a question I have and we expect to have this meeting with the public before the end of February)
- Review funding with the Fire Department early March
- Petition to the public beginning in March
- Fire District established by Dec 31st, 2021
- Fire District in effect Jan 1, 2023
- The Fire Protection District Board is established by County Commissioners (typically 5 members, 1 from each taxing district).
- The Fire Protection District Board is required to meet 4 times per year.
- Fire Chief is the executive officer of the Fire Protection District.
- Trustee no longer has statutory responsibility for fire protection to the district.
- Township Trustee and Board have no authority over fire protection funds.
- Current township fire assets would have an interlocal agreement to transfer from the township to the Fire Protection District.
I know there were some concerns expressed at this week’s township meeting about the process being delayed. I spoke with Reedy Financial and they assured me that the only delay we have experienced was due to the public remonstrance. We have also moved from a fire territory to a fire district because West Lafayette was no longer interested in a fire territory.
If any of you (board members) would like to meet with me (one board member at a time for transparency and open door law compliance) and Heather Maddox (neutral witness) to discuss anything, including the FPD, we will make ourselves available to you. This is a way that township board members and myself can meet and I can answer questions without incurring unnecessary expense to the township. You can also email me individually to ask questions.
In closing, I am asking you to put our disagreements aside as we work towards implementing a fire district.
Wabash Township Trustee
Resolution 2021-4 – It is my understanding that Michelle W. and Angel V. do not support spending emergency loan funds without a permenant plan in place. As this position is different than the previous board I have had to adjust my recommendations. Any retirement plan at this time would be funding via emergency loan therefore seeing as spending of those funds is no longer supported I have withdrawn my recommendation for retirement benefits at this time. Should the board change direction in the future I am happy to revisit this conversation.
Presentation of Trustee’s plan to get 20% of Proposed District… – As stated above the board has no role in these conversations and I’m not sure why it’s on your agenda.
Resolution to Move Funds to Cover Cost of Legal Counsel – I’m not sure what resolution you are referring. I have made no such recommendation nor been a part of any conversation to move money. I’m not sure what fund you would move money from?
April 20, 2021 – Township Assistance Guidelines and Funding Changes – below is an email I sent to the board requesting they advise the township on updates they would like to make to the guidelines.
to: Wabash Board, Angel Valentin, Brendan Betz, Michelle Wietbrock
cc: Heather Maddox
date: Feb 11, 2021, 10:27 PM
subject: Township Assistance Guidelines