Source: The Corydon Democrat

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Time for heart-to-heart in Spencer Twp.
My Opinion

by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

October 22, 2013

When the Frenchtown Community Center was built in 2005, Spencer Township Trustee Donald Satterfield beamed from ear to ear.

He had good reason to. He was the driving force behind the building which gave the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept. a third firehouse, thus helping to lower insurance rates for those in the Frenchtown/Depauw area, and provided a sizable community room that has been rented for many occasions, has served as a polling place for the township and has been the site of political forums/meet-the-candidate events.

Now, Satterfield is catching flak because he has decided that LifeSpan Resources can no longer use the community center to serve its weekday meals to seniors, a service that has taken place at the Frenchtown location since shortly after the Center opened.

The reason those who have gathered at the Center for a hot meal as well as socialization are upset is because they can't seem to get a straight answer from Satterfield. His three-member board — Ed Sieg, Bob Smith and James Goldman — appear to be just as baffled by the decision to cancel LifeSpan's contract.

Satterfield, who says he doesn't want to stop the meals from being served there, initially said that utilities for the Center exceed what has been budgeted then he said the fire department wanted the space for a training center.

Ned Wiseman, the fire department's chief, knows nothing about needing the facility; after all, there is space for indoor training at the other two firehouses (Station 1 in Ramsey and Station 2 in New Salisbury).

And who knows how much the utilities are for each side of the building in Frenchtown since there is only one electric meter.

Spencer Township can't operate in the red, so, if utilities do exceed the budget, that needs to be corrected. However, alternative suggestions have been made, and apparently rejected by Satterfield, to help make up the shortfall.

The question is why does Satterfield really want to end the relationship with LifeSpan?

For 39 years, Satterfield has been the elected trustee of the township and apparently has done an outstanding job. He rarely has been challenged for the position, and nearly everyone in the community is fond of him.

Before this relationship is severed permanently (the last day of meals by LifeSpan at the Frenchtown site is currently planned for Friday), I hope the interested parties can sit down and have an honest, heart-to-heart discussion about what is really going on and how it can be resolved in the best interest of all involved.

As an elected official, I don't think that is too much to ask of Satterfield.