Decatur County Council

The Decatur County Council met on Tuesday.

State Representative Randy Frye came to discuss the Volunteer Fire Service Program. Frye has been a firefighter for most of his life and recognizes that most volunteer firefighters are getting up there in age and they need to continue to recruit younger members in. In House Bill 1001 there has been $10 million allotted for firefighter gear and air packs. This is in order to help reduce the amount of time spent in fundraising efforts, so that volunteer firefighters have a better work/life balance. There is $6 million in the bill allotted to fund training. Training is a must for all firefighters whether they are volunteer or career and the goal is to have regular training spots 30 miles from every volunteer fire station. Fundraising is the main way these stations get money, but it is too reliant as a practice. Frye stated that we don’t ask the street departments or police departments to do their jobs for free, but we expect it of volunteer fire stations. A local option income tax of .01-.05% would help fund these stations. This is an option the state is giving to the counties that they can opt in to. Frye stated that this is the greatest plan in his lifetime to save Volunteer Fire Stations.

Linda Westrup and Emily Verseman with the Community Health Clinic came to request funds for their budget. The Clinic provides medical and dental services to the the community to promote long term wellness. When people are healthy they are able to work and provide for their family, in turn boosting the economy of the community. They also provide dental assistance for inmates and cover any “gap times” for ex-inmates. In 2023 they hope to increase patients and outreach to the community. They requested the same amount as last year. This was taken under review.

Kelli Jette with the Child Advocacy center came to request funds for their budget. They work with a team of first responders when there is a case with allegations of child abuse. They are open 365 days 24/7 and DCS is their main referral to the office. The numbers have been up at 538 cases this year. Their goal is to reduce the amount of trauma a child must go through and has a one time situation so that the child only has to tell their story once, rather than repeating it. They were recently recognized by the state for their mandated reporter training with school programs. They thanked the council for their continued support and requested $10,000. This was taken under review.

Clerk Janet Howell came to the board to continue the discussion on election deputy pay and job description for Election Deputy Patricia Louagie from last month. They are not requesting any extra funds, but permission to spend the funds from the clerks perpetuation fund. This was approved.

County Prosecutor Nate Harder came to the board requesting to make all 3 deputy prosecutors’ annual pay $82,000. The going rate in Indiana is $80k a year starting pay and this would help reflect what the rest of the state is doing. This was approved.

The board appointed Chris Raimey to the Library Board. The board appointed Megan Lanning Boden to the Health Board.

Morgan Schofield


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