Clermont Continues To Seek
By Linda Karn
TheClermont Town Council directed its town attorney
to seek fire protection service with the Town of Brownsburg because statutory
laws would probably nix Clermont from entering a contract with the Brownsburg
Town Attorney Robert Lutz told the council, at the January 11 meeting, several reasons why they could not enter into a contract with Brownsburg Fire Protection Territory, comprised of Brownsburg, Brown and Lincoln Townships. Indiana Code states the fire territory can't extend service beyond its boundaries. The state statute also does not define a fire territory as a unit of government that could enter into an agreement beyond its boundaries. A unit of government has to be a town or municipality. This definition unlocked the door for the council to talk to the Town of Brownsburg that still retains a fire department in addition to participating in the fire territory.
The members of the Clermont Town Council are hoping to be able to address Brownsburg Town Council at its January 25 meeting.
In the mean time, Lutz and Hinshaw investigated obstacles that could prevent contracting fire service across county lines. Redirecting 9-1-1 calls across county lines were once thought to be a problem. However, Hinshaw and Lutz reported it was feasible to have fire 9-1-1 service directed across county lines while maintaining 9-1-1 medical services with Marion County. Each residential address and telephone number would be assigned an emergency service number.
"There should be no cost to assign these number," Lutz said.
Council President Bob Hinshaw is pushing for fire service with Brownsburg
because its rate is around .31cents per instead of the Wayne Township projected
fire rate of .61 cents per $100 assessed valuation. In December, then Wayne
Township Trustee Dan Gammon said the .61 cents per $100 assessed valuation
was estimated high and thought a tax rate of .41 cents per $100 assessed
valuation would be more realistic. Hinshaw thinks Brownsburg's tax rate
could drop to .30 cents per $100 assessed valuation once some debt is eliminated.
"Eleven cents difference times $100 per assessed valuation can be
thousands of dollars. It is worth pursuing," Hinshaw said.
Lutz explained the rates won't be actually determined until the assessment is certified February 15.
The council does not have to make a decision until March 31 whether to retain or end its fire protection territory agreement with Wayne Township. If the council continues with the fire territory, they will have to remain in the territory until June 2008. The town has $298,000 budgeted for fire service with Wayne Township.
In other matters: the council is going to conduct a special meeting January 18th to hire a new police chief and fill the vacancy of former councilor Diane Tyra. No one ran for that seated position. Tyra resigned prior to end of the year. Nancy Baxter and Angela Lair are vying for the council seat.
Heather Barrett is serving as temporary chief of police. The council voted to pay her $200 per month until the position was filled.
In other council action, the members approved for Lutz to negotiate with American Playground Equipment prior to the 14 days stated in the January 9 letter to return the town's "Jumpy Critter" and install the merry-go-round that has been broken since June. Currently, the merry go round is laying on the ground waiting to be mounted. The letter states the company took the "Jumpy Critter" back to the company to install a new spring, but it was never returned. Lutz said phone calls are not returned. This newspaper has contacted the company previously and received no response.
The letter warns the company that a suit will be filed for triple the amount of damages in addition to attorney fees if corrective actions are not taken.