Morgan LPIN Libertarian Party of Morgan County

Goals:

Danny’s goals for Brown Township are simple: Transparency, Accessibility, and Accountability

Live streaming the meetings of other government agencies has already had a positive impact on how our local government performs their duties and interacts with the public. Compare how the Mooresville Redevelopment Commission performed their duties the first time he streamed the meeting to how they perform their duties now.

Danny commends them for their efforts over the last several months and hopes to see further improvement. He firmly believes that increasing transparency will increase accessibility, and that those two combined will result in a higher level of accountability.

In July of 2018 the Mooresville Town Council approved the purchase of a camera and created a YouTube Channel. Mooresville Town Council meetings can now be viewed live via their YouTube channel or on the Town's website. This is agreat step towards 21st Century Transparency and Danny hopes to bring Brown Township even further into the information age, using technology to bring the business of the people to the people.

You can view the latest Brown Township Meetings here:

Duties:

The Brown Township Board assists the Township Trustee by adopting the annual budget, serving as a board of finance, and approving township contracts. In January of each year, the trustee presents to the board an annual report showing the receipts, expenditures, investments and debts of the township.

The Township Trustee has many responsibilities, but they include cemetery maintenance, administering township assistance to the poor, and providing emergency services.

Issues:

Transparency and Accessibility

Meetings: Brown Township does not have regularly scheduled meetings like many other government agencies do. They meet “as needed” and at irregular intervals. This makes public meeting notices even more important. In some cases meeting notices only make the newspaper a day or maybe two before a meeting, and in other cases no notice makes it into the paper at all. They typically meet at 5:00 PM, which does not allow most folks time to arrive after working a regular 9-5 job.

Brown Township citizens raised this concern back in May 2018. [See Video] Since that time meeting notices have been put in the paper with about two weeks’ notice. It appears this issue was heard and taken seriously by the current administration. Meeting notices are better today than they were. That’s a good thing, but we can do even better by utilizing radio, the website, and social media.

Website: The Brown Township Government website needs to be finished. It currently has standard filler text “Lorem ipsum dolor” often seen when you purchase a website template. It’s just random Latin words to show what a site looks like with text in it. Other pages are completely blank. There’s a link to download a “Township Assistance application”, but that link does not work. There is some useful information on the site, such as a “Things you need to know” and “Application Checklist”. This site has remained unchanged for all of 2018. In late August, however, the useful information from the government website was moved to a new tab on the Brown Township Fire Department website and the link from BTFD.com to gov.BTFD.com was removed.

While that change has likely made the checklist and need to know information more accessible, Danny believes we can do much better. A fully functional website will not only benefit the public in need of assistance, it could make the Clerk and Trustees jobs much easier, and should be serving as the primary communication between government and its taxpayers. That website could streamline the process for those needing assistance, while also making it easier for the trustee’s office to process those requests. Currently there are no Meeting Minutes, event notices, or contact information to be found on the website. There are no emails, no phone numbers (except the main office phone), or list of our elected township officials. This basic level of accessibility is priority one for Danny. Once that has been achieved he will push for regular reports and budgets to be published on the site. As well as special project information like those related to the new fire truck.

Until Brown Township is able to complete their website and make it functional, Danny is making the Meeting Minutes available here on his website for anyone who would like to see them. You will also find some contact information for your elected officials and other useful information about your township government on that page.

New Firetruck

In 2017 one of Brown Townships existing fire trucks, a pumper truck, went out of service. That truck was around 30 years old, and no longer worth repairing. Our one remaining engine is a 2006 model year. The average expected serviceable life for these vehicles is around 17 years. The trustee, and the fire chief recommended the purchase of a custom built multi-purpose engine. That will take approximately one year to deliver at a cost of around $750,000. A majority of that cost will be financed. Because it is a multi-purpose truck, the fire chief has stated it will also replace the functionality of another vehicle allowing the township to retire a 1998 rescue vehicle as well.

The board has approved the purchase of this truck. They have also requested a cost benefit analysis be written up to present a few different options and explain why a new custom truck was the best option for the taxpayers. That analysis has not yet been presented.

  • Reporter Times: News Article: Brown Township debates replacement fire engine by Anthony Woodside

Fleet Maintenance / Replacement Plan

Losing a fire engine and going more than a year without one has raised the issue of developing a Fleet Maintenance and Replacement plan. Such a plan would allow the township to better budget for replacement of vehicles/other major equipment, and replace them before it becomes critical. If done properly it could save the taxpayers money while also improving the quality of equipment for our firefighters. This issue has been discussed many times, but at this time no plan has been presented.

County AMS vs Township Services

The county council has voted to build a countywide ALS service and wants the township EMS to be rolled into their service. Some townships, like Brown, have resisted saying they have been providing these services just fine prior to this and their taxpayers have been paying for it. Lost in this discussion, publicly anyway, seems to be that the county council actually voted to disband a countywide ambulance service just 7 years ago (in August 2011). Despite the fact that this would have an impact on nearly every citizen in the county, there is very little information to be found on the topic, making it very difficult for voters to make an informed decision on the topic one way or the other. Danny hopes that being on the board will also allow him to disseminate more relevant information to the public about the pros, cons, and status of this developing issue.

Below you will find more information on the Morgan County Emergency Services topic:

  • Mooresville-Decatur Times: County preps for EMS fight: Officials want townships to ditch outside agreements, provide county EMS by Keith Rhoades
  • Reporter Times: County EMS, townships look to get on same page by Lance Gideon
  • Reporter Times: Column: A response to the article on EMS by the Harrison Township Fire Department staff
  • Reporter Times: Colulmn: Living in the land of kingdoms by Stephen Crane
*If you have more information on this topic, please Contact Danny with the article or documents so we can add it to the list.
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