Letters: Concerned about fire department contract issue

To the editor:

I have read with great interest the letter to the editor from Van Buren Township resident H. Michael Breedlove (July 12 paper) regarding the Van Buren Township trustee and our fire department.

I, too, have been concerned about this issue for the past several years. I have discussed this problem with several neighbors and property owners here, and let me assure everyone that those aware of this ongoing issue here feel that the township trustee has let our residents down. Our trustee is not doing her job with the residents’ best interest at heart!

Now, unfortunately, we are in a situation that there is NO fire department contracted to serve our residents! According to some residents, this has caused their property insurance to leap upwards! According to the insurance companies I have spoken with, our situation could cause insurance policies to be canceled. This is a terrible situation!

The trustee has announced that she is starting a new fire department. This seems totally absurd since there is a perfectly good fire department in our township now with a very long track record of caring for the emergency medical and fire fighting needs of our community.

The Volunteer Fire Department of Van Buren Township Inc. owns land and a brand new lovely station house. They have rescued many residents with medical emergencies and done a great job doing it. They have answered my calls for help, even though they are unpaid volunteers who have not been receiving the small amount of money annually from the trustee to pay for their gas and special protective clothing for firefighters. According to other local fire departments, our fire chief, John Ward, trains other firefighters in other volunteer departments and is highly qualified and certified. He has the respect of his department. We are very fortunate, especially when other Brown County township fire departments are struggling and sometimes are unable to meet the needs of their residents, especially when there are emergency medical needs.

Why would any other fire department want to have a contract with a trustee who has treated our volunteers like she has for the past several years? Again, these are volunteers! Our residents are very grateful for their dedication. Thank God our fire volunteer department has made a commitment to continue to answer our calls for help, contract or no contract!

I have to ask, why hasn’t the Brown County Republican Party stepped in and instructed Trustee Payne (also a Republican) to do her job differently? If the trustee had some sort of problem with the fire department, she must not have the desire or the skills to settle said problem. Can the county prosecutor do something to help? Does the state of Indiana need to step in and get things sorted and straightened out?

Can the trustee and our fire department start over fresh with a new contract? Than would solve a lot of problems. That would ease the minds of all the neighbors in our township, in my opinion.

I hate to think that this will not be resolved in a practical, sensible way.

Susan W. Showalter, concerned Van Buren Township resident

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