Letter: Van Buren trustee not paying fire department

From: Janet Long


After looking at the Facebook page for the Van Buren Township Volunteer Fire Department in Brown County, I did online research. Public records as of Dec. 31, 2015, show Van Buren Township taxes have provided $163,995.28 in a fire accumulative fund for new trucks or maintenance and a balance of $33,703.46 for the fire department contract.

Their township trustee as of Dec. 31, 2015, paid $0 to the fire department. She paid $16,915.08 of Van Buren Township taxes in lawyer fees to Cline, King and King, and $2,291 to Bunger and Robertson for mediator fees to fight paying their volunteer fire department anything for services already rendered. If she has concerns with the taxes being spent wisely, I would say she is putting their fire department out of business and using their tax dollars to do it.

The fact that she has the power to do so is appalling. Would you want to work with someone who can decide to pay you or not at whim? Supposedly, she has been turned down by nearby departments to take over this territory. To close down the only protection being provided through nonpayment and a drawn-out law suit seems irresponsible. They stay open only through fundraisers and donations. Why are the residents of Van Buren Township paying taxes if the taxes are not being distributed as allotted?

The township’s annual fiscal reports up to 2010 can be found at in.gov/itp/annual_reports and after that at gateway.ifionline.org. Both 2010 (misappropriated funds found) and 2015 where interesting. In the 2015 report, it shows the itemize tax dollars received and disbursed, and that is where the lawyer expenses are shown.