Hoping the sixth time’s the charm, Centerville’s council conducted its sixth public hearing in its third attempt to secure a $500,000 state grant for renovating Fire Station 1.

Goals include adding a bay, installing an exhaust system and fire alarm system, replacing heaters, adding women’s restrooms and showers since there weren’t female first responders when it was built in 1980, expanding the training room and making parking and connecting sidewalks handicapped accessible. 

Grants will be announced Feb. 22. If the town wins, it would contribute $225,000. 

Chief Dennis Spears said some of those projects would resolve looming federal and state safety mandates that will be “a costly venture.”

Spears and councilor Joshua Tudor agreed Centerville eventually will need to pay for station compliance, so pursuing the grant will save money. 

Kenna Consulting representatives recently completed a site visit with an Office of Community and Rural Affairs liaison, who said their application looked good. 

Councilor Jack Bodiker and Center Township Trustee Vicki Chasteen said the project would improve resident and firefighter safety by improving rural firefighters’ training opportunities.  

“I can just ask for the community to pull together and pray for this to come through,” Bodiker said.

Services clarification

During the meeting, council approved amended charges for Centerville Fire/Rescue services for motor vehicle fires and accidents involving those who live outside CF/R’s jurisdiction and are traveling through. The town’s action corresponds with a revision to the state’s highway service charge policy taking effect Jan. 1.

CF/R doesn’t charge residents of Centerville or Center Township or any first responder for that assistance.

Initial responses to fires or hazardous material incidents would cost $300 per fire engine/truck/apparatus/rescue unit and $150 per command vehicle. For each hour or fraction of an hour for on-scene assistance, $200 also would be charged per response unit and $100 per command vehicle.

Fees are used to replenish materials used to contain any hazardous materials released.

Initial information shared with WWN and published in the Dec. 6 edition was unclear.

In other business

  • Town Manager Kevin Slick said 100 tons of salt are ready for icy roads. 
  • Council advanced a code amendment regarding rank weeds and vegetation to a second reading at its next meeting. 
  • A fire protection agreement was reached between Center Township and Centerville, and an ordinance amending appropriations was adopted. 
  • Council approved a $9,860 field inventory for Americans with Disability Act compliance. The analysis is needed to qualify for Community Crossings paving grants. 
  • Slick is pursuing quotes to replace the computerized water monitoring system because the west tower stopped communicating with the system, ending remote monitoring. Parts are no longer available.
  • Council approved about $7,300 for Indiana Municipal Electric Association membership and monthly on-site safety training that’s more broadly applicable to town workers’ duties, in addition to other benefits. Because of Centerville’s rising workers’ compensation claims, officials believe the approximately $2,000 extra over its current training services from Indiana Municipal Power Agency will save money long term since some employees aren’t eligible for IMPA’s training.
  • Councilor Gary Holbert urged young people not to play around transformers near the town’s cemetery.  
  • Eight cases of code enforcement were investigated in November. Six were cleared, one was enforced and one remains open. 
  • Centerville police officers Mason Hale and Daniel Husted were to graduate Dec. 15 from the police academy, and Sgt. Josh Millsaps qualified to become a firearms instructor. 
  • Council’s work session is 7 p.m. Dec. 26 in town hall. 
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A version of this article appeared in the December 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.