County To Help Fire Territory With Communication Upgrade

(photo supplied / Times-Union)

Two firefighters appeared before the Kosciusko County commissioners Tuesday to request the release of funds for Sidney/Jackson Township Fire Department to help it with a communication problem.

Kevin McSherry, Burket Fire Department captain and Kosciusko County Fireman’s Association president, and Sidney/Jackson Township Fire Chief Kevin Wagoner went before the commissioners to ask for the release of $7,851.34 to Jackson Township Fire Department.

McSherry said the KCFA, which represents 373 men and women from 14 fire departments, has a fund through the K21 Health Foundation started many years ago as a communication fund.

“When departments have needs for communication improvement – the consultant that we’re presently working with calls them band-aids – but we’ve put many band-aids on our system over the years – and unfortunately, we have the need right now for Jackson Township to have one of those band-aids because it may be 18 months to two years before – if the system is approved and started – we get a resolution for their present problem,” McSherry said.

He asked for the release of the nearly $8,000 to help the fire department with its communication issue.

Commissioner Bob Conley said the commissioners have “done this in the past and it’s standard procedure and the funds come from” K21.

“We’ve done repeaters in Mentone, Etna Green, Winona Lake out of this same fund, but you have changed your procedures to where we need to appear now, and we’ll see Sue Ann (Mitchell) and the (county) council Thursday night” for their approval of the request, McSherry said.

County Auditor Michelle Puckett said K21 “gives us those funds directly and we just file a claim.” The request was unanimously approved by the commissioners.

In other business, the commissioners approved:

• The contract with Chad Miner as county attorney for 2020. He said there really weren’t any changes except for a cost-of-living increase for his salary.

• A lease agreement with Teen Court. Miner said Teen Court has moved into the county space, and the agreement is retroactive to Nov. 1.

• A memorandum of understanding with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office for animal control services. The KCSO will provide animal control services for the county, and the county will provide the first animal control vehicle for them. In the future, the KCSO will be responsible to replace the vehicle when it’s needed.

• The agreement with the Animal Welfare League for animal pick-up services. The agreement is for 2020 and is not to exceed $150,000.

• The 2020 board appointments, department head appointments and miscellaneous recommendations for appointments.

The next commissioners meeting is at 9 a.m. Dec. 23. A reception will be held after the meeting for Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden, who is retiring at year’s end. He will be replaced by Steve Moriarty.