New pumper, equipment on tap by fire chiefs association
Fire officials have their equipment requests in for 2019. The Harrison County Fire Chiefs Association is asking for $610,000 from county officials.
The association’s president, Chris Woertz, asked for a new pumper for the Milltown Volunteer Fire Dept. and new self-contained breathing apparatuses for the Harrison Township Fire Dept.
The request came during the Harrison County Board of Commissioners meeting Jan. 22 (moved from Jan. 21 due to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday).
The week prior to the meeting, Woertz said all nine fire departments met and agreed on the two purchases as part of the fire association’s three-year agreement. It calls for leaders at the fire departments to collectively discuss how the county should budget improvements for fire protection.
The new agreement would look at purchases and expenses between now and the end of 2021.
‘I had 100-percent participation from our fire chiefs last week,’ Woertz said. ‘So, everyone is aware.’
It’s a rare occasion to have fire officials from each community at a meeting, but Commissioner Jim Heitkemper was pleased to see the agreement is working the way county officials intended.
‘I’m glad everyone showed up at the last meeting,’ he said. ‘That’s impressive.’
Woertz said an estimate for the pumper is roughly $300,000 and will replace a failing pumper in the Milltown community.
‘They are down to one truck now,’ Woertz said. ‘So, the fire association deemed that a necessity for this year.’
The equipment for Harrison Township FD will cost $310,000.
Woertz reminded the commissioners that the fire chief association is not supposed to ask for more than $500,000 a year but can as long as it does not go over $1 million in a two-year span.
The fire chiefs association presented its case to the Harrison County Council during Monday night’s meeting and could have an answer at the council’s first meeting next month, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in Corydon.
Other aspects of the agreement call for New Middletown VFD to purchase a tanker in 2020 that would cost $350,000.
The final year, $500,000 would go toward a new fire station for the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept.
The total amount during the three years would be $1,460,000. The association is supposed to keep its request during a three-year span to less than $1.5 million.
Woertz said Boone Township and Elizabeth volunteer fire departments were both looking to get new equipment but decided to hold off on their requests until at least 2022.
‘They seen these other departments this is more of a urgent need, if you will,’ Woertz said. ‘Both departments did hold back on the request that they be first up on the next go-around.’