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Three-year plan revealed for fire departments


October 03, 2012 | 08:30 AM

The Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association and the county's government officials came to a "gentleman's" agreement a few years ago that the county would supply $500,000 per year for fire departments, but the chiefs association would make the decision on how and which departments to spend the money.

Monday, at the Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting, fire chiefs association president Tony Combs presented the next three years of the plan.

Next year, the bulk of the spending will go a new rescue pumper apparatus for the New Middletown Volunteer Fire Dept., Combs said, with $400,000 set aside for the new truck.

Combs said the department has a small truck now and two pumper tankers but needs a large apparatus that could do both.

The Milltown Volunteer Fire Dept. will receive a station breathing air compressor for $60,000, and the rest of the funding for the year will go to communication equipment upgrades.

With new narrow band radio changes, most of the firefighters' radios will no longer work with the new system.

In 2014, Boone Township Volunteer Fire Dept. will receive a tanker and Harrison Township VFD will receive a pumper, both at an estimated cost of $250,000.

And finally, in 2015, the only fire department to receive funding will be Elizabeth for building improvements and add-ons for $500,000.

Combs said the fire chiefs association asks for the "needs," not "wants," from each of the nine departments and then it decides from there which requests should make it to the county level.

Other departments that are not in the three-year cycle will likely be recipients in the next cycle, he said.

"I think it's a good way to do it," Commissioner Chairman James Goldman said of the three-year plan.

Goldman said it's a more fair system compared to the old way of the fire departments individually coming to the county for funding on an almost first-come, first-serve basis.

In other business Monday morning, the board learned that the county has been paying for a Duke Energy phase three meter that has not been in use since the annex building was a grocery store. Auditor Karen Engleman was told the meter, which showed up on the bill, was no longer needed by a Duke representative.

"That's terrible," Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said.

The commissioners asked Engleman to have Duke remove the meter.

In news from the engineer's office, engineer Kevin Russel said a pre-construction meeting on phase II of the Corydon-New Middletown Road project will take place in the Government Center in south Corydon at 9 a.m. today (Wednesday).

Russel also said he's been in communication with Heritage Engineering to prepare a proposal for the commissioners' consideration for design of phase III, which would reach the rest of the way into New Middletown, completing the road-enhancement project.

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners will meet again Monday, Oct. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.

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    Forward Thinking!
    October 11, 2012 | 12:59 PM

    It's great to see the forward thinking and planning taking place with our Fire Departments! I would like to see a summary report that would show how each Dept is rated by the Insurance Industry and whether or not this equipment will assist in department in improvement of their rating.

    I realize there may not be a direct corrolation between the two, but knowing how your department is rated can make a homeowner eligible for insurance discounts.

    The Boone Township VFD has done an incredible job! I only wish the rest of our county government would take this same approach by looking at a 5 year plan.

    JW in Laconia
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