Winamac Town Council Discusses Volunteer Fire Department Contract

Winamac officials will be working with the Town Attorney and Fire Department representatives to update their current contract and the associated ordinance.

When the Town Council met Monday night they were presented with a report that included what the Department charges for services as well as the runs where the insurance companies involved in particular cases had been billed.

At their meeting in February, members addressed the fact that they hadn’t been receiving that particular information consistently and emphasized that it is a requirement that’s stipulated in the town’s ordinance regulating the fire department.

While members collectively recognized that an effort was being made to address their initial request to comply with the ordinance, they voiced some concerns about other expectations that were not being met.

Council woman Judy Heater addressed a standard procedure that was done for a long time that hasn’t been occurring recently.

She explained, “They used to give us an annual report and it told us numbers of what you had on hand in your accounts and they quit doing it and I don’t know why.”

Heater continued, “It seems to me if we don’t have those, somewhere along the line when Melanie has an audit and they ask for those, we would not be able to provide those.”

While she acknowledged the apparent need to make some changes, Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger mentioned that time is of the essence with the contract.

Berger stated, “Right now, we have nothing with the Volunteer Fire Department. For the safety of both organizations we should have a contract in place…”

Council President Tom Murray chimed in, “And for the safety of the people of the community who require service.”

Berger added, “Absolutely, so let’s have something in writing and then we can address changes.”  

Members unanimously agreed to approve the existing contract, under the condition that they would look into amending it.

Council members also indicated a desire to revisit the ordinance related to the Fire Department which was originally passed in 1996.

Officials plan to check with Town Attorney Justin Schramm about the most recent state statutes and standard requirements that may need to be included in an updated Fire Department ordinance.