VanBibber Lake Property Owners Association
News Bulletin January and February 2005 Volume 2 - Edition 1
At the January 22nd Board of Directors meeting Bill Neal, President of the Walnut Creek Fire Protection District, VanBibber Lake Station, announced to the PO A Board of Directors that fire service for Clinton township was now being handled by Bainbridge.
On December 6, 2004 the VanBibber Station met with the Fire Protection Council for the district. At the meeting the President of the council, Jim Hilburn made a motion to not renew the contract with the VanBibber Station and turn all fire protection service over to Bainbridge Station. It was seconded by J C Unger, Clinton Township Board Director. A dispute over the amount that the VanBibber Fire Station and the amount the district was willing to pay resulted in this motion.
Here is a little history of the Fire district. It was formed in 1998 with the idea of building two fire protection services one for Monroe Township and one for Clinton Township. A three member board was set up, both townships would have one representative and Bainbridge would be the third. These board members are appointed by the County Commissioners who are your elected officials. Clinton Township has the second highest fire protection tax assessment. Only Floyd Township, Heritage Lake, is higher. All tax moneys go directly to the board and are dispersed at their discretion.
On January 29th there was a special meeting of the Fire District which was called for the purpose of trying to iron out a contract with VanBibber Fire Station. There were over 50 concerned property owners present. Most from within VanBibber Lake.
At the meeting I learned some interesting facts; The District holds four (4) open meeting per year. They are the 1st Thursday of the month in January, April, July and October. They are held at the Bainbridge Fire Station and are at 7:00 PM in the evening. At the April meeting they begin reviewing the budget for the upcoming year and in July they set the budget. Both VanBibber and Bainbridge should at that time submit their budget requests. As we all know that does not mean that they will receive all that they ask for, but it is a time for hammering out the differences. Like every organization they are limited by what they take in, in tax revenue.
At the meeting the VanBibber Fire Station presented a budget for the sum $30,639.00. This included the replacement cost for the medical vehicle and a newer tanker truck. The District Board concluded that the need for the tanker truck was outside the realm of this years budget, subtracted the dollar amount for the tanker and placed on the table the sum of $22,000.00. This figure is $3,000.00 dollars more than last year's $19,000.00. The VanBibber Fire Station president asked for 48 hours to respond to the offer and the meeting was closed.
After consideration by the VanBibber Fire Station Board the contract was signed and submitted to the District Board. Fire and EMT services are restored.
On Saturday January 15 a meeting at the Putnam Inn with District 44 State Representative Andy Thomas and Judy Woods of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT) was held to discuss the incorporation of the VanBibber Lake community into a town.
Around 30 property owners from VanBibber Lake attended. Information was handed out and discussions lasted around 2 hours.
You may be thinking, why would we want to become a town?
Currently we pay $10.00 per month for a couple of services, property maintenance and security. A token $3,000.00 dollars is being collected this year for road repair. This is hardly enough money to maintain the 8.5 miles of roads in this community. As a property owners association we have no borrowing ability because we have no credit history, we have no way of securing government grants or secured loans. All we have is POA dues collected directly from its members. Even at $10.00 per month we find some members feel it is too high and we have to seek collection in the courts.
If we do not find ways to get additional money, one of two things is going to happen. Your dues are going to increase substantially or the community is going to fall apart. Property values will decline and this place is going to die. It will not happen over night but it is not vary far off if you look at the current situation.