St. Joseph Township, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - The battle between the St. Joseph Township trustee and fire chief continues as the community prepares for an ISO audit in mid-August.
The township fire department is operating with less gear and fewer people and that has the chief concerned.
"Our response times in the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. have lengthened substantially," said Chief Jerry Lencke, St. Joseph Township Fire Department.
Since January 2012 the township's trustee has laid off paid firefighters that worked during the daytime hours and sold equipment without consulting the department.
The township is scheduled to have an ISO audit done August 14. It will change insurance costs for residents for the next decade or more.
"What is the response time, that's critical because if a fire breaks out they want to know how long does it take for the firefighters to get from their station directly to the homeowners fire,” said Dr. John Fitzgerald, Insurance Expert, Ball State University.
Dr. Fitzgerald is an insurance expert from Ball State. He says there are ten classifications, one being the best and 10 being the worst. The outcome of the audit can either mean savings or an expense for residents.
"The impact would be, if the classification code increases then that would result in an increase in homeowners insurance premiums, which would also be renters insurance,” said Fitzgerald.
The chief has concerns about what's currently going on at the fire department and how that could affect the audit but he also has questions about their future.
"It's the unknown of what is the business plan for the township. We've asked the trustee for a one year, a three year, a five year, a ten year plan so that we can then make recommendations,” said Lencke.
"I think just from an outsiders point of view that planning is important. I don't see a plan. I don't see cooperation from different people. I'm just an outsider but I think planning and management goes into it just as well as the technical aspects of the audit,” said Fitzgerald.
INC’s Stephanie Parkinson went to Township Trustee Richard Uhrick's office and then to his home to ask for a response to the chief's concerns. He declined to speak with INC.
What are your thoughts CLICK HERE to leave us a "Your2Cents” comment.
© Copyright 2013 A Granite Broadcasting Station. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.