Source: The Corydon Democrat

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DLGF provides no answers about Spencer Twp.

by Ross Schulz

November 26, 2013

One of the largest crowds the commissioner/council room of the Government Center has seen gathered Thursday morning for an Indiana Dept. of Local Government Finance public hearing focusing on Spencer Township.

Only one person from the state office attended the meeting, and he, Joe Lukowski, couldn't answer any questions from the residents.

Lukowski works in the assessment division, and the residents wanted answers about the township budget.

Lukowski said the budget office was too busy finishing up budget work before the end of the year to attend the meeting, but he would report back with all of their questions. The meeting was also recorded, and he said he would provide the proper people with a copy of the meeting.

"You will get an answer," he said. "It's not like you're falling on deaf ears."

Spencer Township residents want an answer from the DLGF about their trustee, Donald Satterfield, and the proposed 2014 budget.

In September, Satterfield sent a letter to LifeSpan Resources terminating an agreement to provide senior meals at the Frenchtown Community Center, where seniors used to gather daily to eat and socialize.

The agreement had been in place since Jan. 1, 2010.

In the termination letter to LifeSpan, Satterfield wrote, "Spencer Township can no longer continue to provide utilities including gas, electricity, water and telephone at no cost to LifeSpan as these expenses far exceed the donation of $100 per month paid by LifeSpan."

Rebecca Rennirt, daughter of Leota and Fred Rennirt who attended senior gatherings at the community center, acted as the spokesperson at Thursday's hearing.

She first questioned the salary of the trustee and clerk.

The proposed trustee salary for Spencer Township is $18,440. The average of the other 11 trustees is $8,765. The proposed clerk salary for Spencer Township is $8,550. The average of the other 11 is $2,011.

Rennirt asked that the trustee be required to re-submit "a fair" budget for 2014.

"The only recourse we have is to elect a different trustee, which we plan to do, but it means the seniors lose their program," Rennirt said.

Rennirt said four responsible candidates for the position have already been established that will guarantee the funding of the senior program at the community center.

Rennirt reported that residents have had trouble requesting information from the trustee as well.

She said other trustees help taxpayers with access to parks or with other programs, but not Spencer Township.

"The taxpayers are receiving very little," she said. "The one good thing that was happening is now closed."

She questioned the line items of other services and charges in the proposed budget.

"How's the taxpayer to know (what the line is for) and why is the township budget padded to this extent?" she asked.

Rennirt concluded by saying the goal is to have the senior program in the 2014 budget.

Neither Donald nor Kathy Satterfield was at the hearing.

Lukowski said he'd give the information from the meeting to his superiors.

"When they make a decision, they'll notify you," he said.

He estimated it would be about two weeks before DLGF officials supplied an answer to the report.