The Decatur Township Advisory Board met last night to consider expenditures to keep the Decatur Township Fire Department solvent for the rest of 2013.
At issue was borrowing a reported $3.5 million to keep the township's fire department afloat the rest of the year. In just seven minutes, my sources tell me that the deal was done. The board voted to borrow the money.
This is not an unusual move for township government...at least in Decatur Township. If one examines the records of the township board, you can see where these kinds of loans have been made year after year. A new bill waiting for Governor Pence's signature would only allow township governments to borrow money three out of every five years. It's going to be tough if Pence signs the bill for these independent townships to support their own fire departments without borrowing money annually. I'm told there will be layoffs and there will be service issues.
Decatur Township is served by an excellent and professional fire department.
That is just one issue facing the Decatur Township Advisory Board.
They say that the government closest to you should be the government you know the best. The Township Board Offices are, I believe, a necessary part of government. The fact of the matter is that people don't know that these board members exist.
Decatur Township's Board, like all the others, currently has seven seats. Only six seats are currently filled in Decatur Township and one member of the board, Larry Kugelman, has not been able to fulfill his duties for months due to a fall. The unfilled seat belonged to a great man by the name of Bob Frye. He passed away on April 12. Bob was a proud U.S. Army Veteran and would often sit out on Election Day wearing his veteran hat. I enjoyed being around him.
It will take a caucus to replace Frye, and I have not heard any plans to replace him yet. I spoke a source familiar with the Decatur Township Board, and this individual tells me that he doesn't believe anyone has officially informed GOP Chair Kyle Walker that there is a vacancy on the board. The question I've encountered is...does anyone have to inform Walker or would the obituary serve as notice?
I sincerely hope my good friend Larry Kugelman recovers and is able to retake his position on the board. Like Bob Frye, Larry has led a life of service to his family and his community. He deserves the time to recover and return when healthy enough to resume his duties.
I'll let you know what I hear.
Full Disclosure: I am a member of the Decatur Township Civilian Fire Merit Commission. I was elected to the Commission by the firefighters of the Decatur Township Fire Deparment.