Indiana Fire Department Forced to Go Volunteer


A battle over fire service in a Morgan County township appears to be nearing an end.

Gregg Township trustee Carole Snyder withdrew a request for a 2010 $165,000 emergency loan, saying she could no longer fight with taxpayers concerned about increased taxes.

In October, the Gregg Township Fire Department laid off 20 firefighters and ceased ambulance service.

The withdrawn petition means the fire department will operate on a volunteer basis only, a decision that's controversial in light of the case of a 20-year old man who died after waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance even though he lives by the fire station.

Snyder said the township spent $50,000 in legal and accounting fees battling with concerned taxpayers Dora Brown, Ben Kindle and Sonjia Graf, who opposed the loan because over concerns it would lead to higher taxes, 6News' Kara Kenney reported.

Beth Henkel, an attorney who represents the three taxpayers, said the trustee's decision was in the best interest of the community.

"This withdrawal of the request for the 2010 emergency loan saves the taxpayers of Gregg Township from having to fund the EMS services for four townships -- or more -- of Morgan County," she said.

The firefighter layoffs and ceased ambulance service came after the Department of Local Government Finance reversed a 2009 emergency loan.

The Indiana Tax Court found that from 2004 to 2008, only about 42 percent of runs were solely within the township.

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