Many think that being a fireman is always easy. Nothing is “always” anything. Like any job, there are those days where the time passes slowly, medical runs become routine, the book you are reading gets boring, and the day lingers. However, there are those days that you wish would have never happened and pray that you will someday forget…but you can’t.
Examples of those days include the day that you were called into a house where an 8 month old had stopped breathing. As a trained EMT, you do everything in your power to resuscitate the child, but in the end, the child fails to respond. Although you did your level best, your responsibility now is to cradle that lifeless child, gently hand it over to its mother, and tell her that you are sorry.
Another day you are called to an accident scene where several teenagers are trapped in a badly mangled car. As you are cutting them out of the car, you think of your own teenager as you feverishly work to free the trapped occupants. You free them, only to have two of them flown to the hospital in the emergency helicopter. You are not sure they lived or died. One of them for sure will only have one leg if they live. You wash the blood off of your hands and go back to the station in silence and make out your reports. Later on you go home and give your own children a long hug.
On another call, you respond to a domestic violence case where you have had repeated visits. Instead of finding the usual, you have the unwanted privilege of watching a stressed out man in his car put a gun under his chin and pull the trigger, ending it all. You are left to wonder why, and if the remaining occupants in the house are dead or alive.
Links are in BLUE (but not this one)
When you do get home, the night can be your worst enemy. There are the nightmares, bad dreams, cold sweats, and re-runs of the above incidents in your mind. (See the movie Groundhog Day) You ask yourself, could I have done more? Could I have done better? What did I miss? You lose sleep. These moments affect your mood, personality, family, and your personal life because trauma and stress will change you. These men can be called heroes when they step up and save lives. They are an important group of men and I cannot envision a world without them.
We all need to remember that in midst of all the budget/financial squabbles and problems that we face in the township and the country, they are nothing compared to some of the horrible things that the firemen can be faced with on any day at any time.
In the big scheme of things, the politicians are the ones that get us into financial trouble, not the city workers or the firemen. The politicians spend our money like there is no tomorrow, and cause us to point fingers and fight amongst ourselves on how to pay the bills and fix the aftermath of their bad decisions. The blame must always lie with the elected politicians.
|The wet paper bag..what's inside?|
Unfortunately, once the politicians get us into trouble, their cures are often worse than the disease. They exit office and leave us holding the wet paper bag. The next group of politicians comes in and their solution is usually “more taxes can solve everything”. It’s true in Washington DC and it’s true in Washington Township. Just check your property taxes this year.
However, we know the difference. More taxes do NOT solve everything. Making government efficient does. This is the principal core and foundation of my beliefs and that is why I write like I do and say what I say.
CEMETARY MAINTENANCE BIDS REVIEWED
The Washington Township Board met last night, 3-13-13. All board members were in attendance as well as the Trustee and the Fire Chief.
8 bids were reviewed by the board for the grass cutting and clean-up of township cemeteries. The job requires mowing at certain intervals and cleanup of brush, paper, etc. Most bids were in the range of $4K-$5K for this mowing season. However, one bid from South Central Contracting was a whopping $16,100. That was the first one thrown in the circular file. 2 bids were too confusing to read and the rest were very competitive. The contract was awarded to Payne Lawncare out of Monrovia (317) 224-7989. Their winning bid was for $4,230. Here is their website: http://paynelawncare.com/
Chief Herrington reported
6 Vehicles Crashes
5 Fire Reports
If you have a dry hydrant on your property, the FD will be flushing them soon. If you have a big pond and would like one installed on your property, then the FD would be more than happy to facilitate this and put you in contact with the right folks that do this sort of work.
There was an accounting error several months ago. $23, 963.52 was deposited in the firemen’s account in error. The money needs to be transferred out of the fire fighters account back into the township account. The board is still waiting on guidance from headquarters, the DGLF, on how to accomplish this seemingly easy but apparently difficult feat. They are trying to decide whether it is best to do it by an appropriation or a resolution. They each have consequences and using one over the other may bring on excessive paperwork and/or meeting requirements. The board is looking for the best way to do this. The board has been thinking about this for over two months.
It does appear that they may be intentionally stalling until the Spring money deposit by the State. There is some concern that the fire fighters account may not have enough funding to last to the next deposit, henceforth, the $23.9K can be looked at as a short term loan to the account to keep it from going dry until the cash deposit by the State. When that happens, then the board will find a way to return the money.
A resolution passed 3-0 to establish a legal fund within the fire budget to pay any legal bills incurred by the firemen in the course of their employment. In previous years, the township paid all legal bills. Board member Bolin did some great research and found out that this was improper accounting as tax payers in another taxing district (city) were paying the firemen’s legal expenses. It is against state rules for this to happen. With this resolution, the issue is gone.
Discussion followed regarding the legal bills. Chief Mike asked the board how this would work. The board’s advice was that firemen should not just go to see a lawyer without going through the proper chain of command, that being the chief and the trustee. “If you don’t do that you may end up having to pay the legal bills out of your own pocket” Merideth said. Everyone agreed with the chain of command procedure.
CAGIT MONEY-$1/2 Million gone?
Bolin brought up a discussion on CAGIT money. CAGIT money is money given to the townships by the State. The primary intent of this distribution is to reduce local township property taxes. In Washington Township, the money should be split approximately 53% going to the city and 47% going to the township. Bolin did his research again and found some shocking facts and numbers.
Past Washington Township Boards did not follow the intent of the legislature. Bob went to the statehouse and pulled records back to 2009. From what he reported, past Boards took the entire amount of distributed CAGIT money and dropped it into the fire fighters bank, when they only should have gotten about half of it. Bolin estimates that well over $½ Million, yes he said $½Million, was used in the fire department that should have gone to either township poor relief or property tax reduction. Doing the math, if these funds had been used in past years in accordance with the intent of the legislature, the general property tax rate in Washington Township would be zero. Yes, I said ZERO. That is the intent of your state legislators.
This year, it looks like the CAGIT distribution will be about $277,961. The Board has promised to do the right thing this year. Following the rules is a good thing.
DRUG TESTING FOR ASSISTANCE
Bolin reported that Posey County Indiana, Black Township has started a testing program for township benefits. In other words, if you need help getting your rent, heat, lights, utilities, or food bills paid by the trustee, you must undergo a drug test. When this was discussed, there was applause by the audience. It was decided that Scotty would look into that in light of the rise in heroin problems in the city.
When this has been tried in other cities, the number of applicants falls off, but hopefully, the cost of the testing will be offset by the savings due to fewer applicants. Only time will tell. It was discussed that generally, when someone is told that they have to have a drug test (and they have drugs in their system), they don’t get the test. They just quit asking for assistance.
You can read the article about it in the local Evansville paper here:
QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Is former fireman Bob Bolin the only Board member who does the homework and research necessary to ensure Washington Township becomes fiscally stable and compliant with State Laws?
The next meeting is April 10 at 5:30 in the County Building.