Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Perry Township Fire Department Fiasco

Fiscal mismanagement of the Perry Township Fire Department has left it with more than a $1 million budgetary shortfall and the prospect of laying off 75% of the department's firefighters. Alas, with the able assistance of Township attorney Brian Bosma, the township will be able to borrow $2.9 million based on a recommendation from the state's tax control board WISH-TV reports and avoid the massive layoffs for now. The commissioner of the state's DLGF must still sign off on the loan.

It now looks like the township will go hat in hand to Mayor Peterson asking for his help in merging the near-bankrupt department into the Indianapolis Fire Department. Taxpayers, however, will have to foot the bill to pay for the township's fiscal incompetence, which it is trying to blame on a dwindling property tax base due to businesses moving out and rising foreclosures. WISH reports that fire departments in Pike, Lawrence and Decatur Townships all face similar financial woes and have relied on borrowing to shore up their budgets.

10 comments:

Armed Right Wing Citizen said...

Lawrence Twp trustee has a lot of other problems on his mind than running the fire department - like a DUI.

And that will leave... Wayne and Franklin. Wayne Township - at one time the largest all-volunteer fire department in Indiana.

Anonymous said...

OK, so how much time will the newly approved loan buy? Weeks? Months? The rest of the year? How long will they have to work out a deal with IFD?

Anonymous said...

The problem rests with inept and irresponsible republican reign in Perry Township for longer than most of us can remember. A loan has to be repaid and this is the third year in a row for a deficit.....they are justing digging themselves deeper into debt....what happened to good fiscal managament....now they will want the city and Mayor Peterson to bail them out.....

Anonymous said...

Operating efficiencies for a county-wide fire service, are numerous and large. It just makes sense.

However, the lagging details can keep you awake at nights:

In Wahington Twp., the merger there left the township with a $4.3 million surplus this year. That's right--surplus. And the only thing left for that trustee to do is oversee poor relief, such as it is, and a few cemeteries.

And guess what those geniuses are trying to do now? Build a new township office building, sign a 15-year lease on it, and move the trustee, poor relief, court and assessor into one new building. They trumpet that it will "save money" over current lease arrangements. Riiiiiiight.

Townships have become personal fiefdoms for incompetent or wasteful trustees. They need to go. Now. Period.

Remember the Wayne Fire fiasco? Their current trustee is new, but he's a goof. Years ago, a new trustee, Republican, claimed the equipment was purchased by the non-public Wayne Fire Dept. INC., and thus did not belong to the taxpayers. He said that with a straight face. He's gone, thankfully, but he's replaced by an equal goof.

Wilson constantly harps that townships only take 1.5-2% of your totla property tax bill. It's still millions, and it/s 5% more than they're qualified to take. And I guess I'd defend a system, too, if I were receiving a pension from it...even though their work is woefully over-duplicated.

Ill-begotten gains.

Anonymous said...

The firefighters unions/prof orgs have pretty much caused this. They come up with these 'stats' that demand so many firefighters, equipment, etc. depending on population and other factors. The one thing that is NEVER considered is how much tax money would be needed to provide all of this. Fire departments, like police departments, are really heavy admin wise. It is time to cut some of the fat from the top, reduce firefighters, and give the people as much info as you can to help them prevent fires.

varangianguard said...

I read somewhere this morning where someone was complaining that Perry Township's tax base had declined, causing the current fiscal crisis.

Horsefeathers. Drive down Bluff Road or Indiana 37 and try that line on somebody else. The tax base may have shifted somewhat, but if it has declined in real terms, then somebody isn't counting right.

The Township Council and previous long-time Trustee found that they could operate without oversight or accountability, and seemingly did so, to the detriment of the township residents who entrusted them to serve the public weal.

Anonymous said...

First, township employees belong to PERF so the Townships are not paying the monthly pensions of retired employees. They and the employee conribute while the employee is working. You made me actually come to the defense of that fool Wilson but your misinformation needed to be corrected.

The Perry Township mess is a result of decades of republican fiscal mismanagement and ill conceived loans. Perhaps even some corruption. I just hope a home doesn't burn or someone dies before the township decides to fully address this issue.

IFDparamedic said...

The bottom line is this.....the outgoing trustee Jack Spradlin, who absolutely HATED the fire department, did all he could to drain the savings of the township prior to leaving office. He knew this would happen, the board knew this would happen, and the firefighters knew this would happen.
As far as the department itself goes, in reference to teaching people to prevent fires and cut staff, 80 % of the fire departments work is to provide emergency medical service(EMS). Closing fire houses and cutting staff are a disaster waiting to happen. If you or your loved one had a medical emergency, such as cardiac arrest, wouldn't you want the closest, most well-trained, and properly staffed equipment and manpower coming to help. Fires are a small part of what we do folks, all we are asking for is the chance to do our job with good,safe equipment and with an administration(ie township board) that isn't looking to steal from our budget every chance they get. The only way for this to happen is to ELIMINATE township government and the corruption and political cronyism associated with it from BOTH parties. You as taxpayers pay for fire service and you aren't getting what you should be in Perry Twp. PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

IFD Paramedic, you just want to take over more areas so that you can have their equipment. IFD's and IPD's pension problems were the beginning of this situation. at one point the City owed PERF and the Pension over $100 million.

Asking the Department of Local Government to increase Perry's budget is the best way. Don't go for the merger. Your taxes are only safe for a year and then Bart has already said that they will go up even more in Washington and Warren townships. The tax rate freeze was only good till 1-1-2008

ifdparamedic said...

I could care less about whether or not Perry merges. I come to work every 3rd day, do my job professionally for my community and then hope to go home safely to my family. This merger is NOT about passing the pension burden onto the townships as they have pension liabilities as well, albeit on a smaller scale. The merger eliminates the wasteful, bureaucratic, cronyism spending that is occuring in the townships. Don't blame IFD for your mess in Perry. You all continued to vote for Spradlin who saw the fire service not as a way to provide good care to the citizens of Perry, but as a cash cow to skim from every chance he could.