Huntertown Town Council member Brandon Seifert has proposed the town utilize COVID-19 relief funds for purchases related to equipment needs at the Huntertown Fire Department and safety concerns at town facilities.
Council discussed the proposal at its Oct. 5 regular meeting, and Seifert said he has asked Huntertown Fire Chief Robert Boren to collect quotes for a new piece of equipment used to fill pressurized breathing-air tanks at the fire station.
The Huntertown Fire Department — which serves Perry and Eel River townships — was one of three local fire departments last year to receive money from a government grant to purchase new breathing tanks, which are used by firefighters when entering burning structures. However, the department’s SCBA fill station, which was purchased in the late 1970s, is currently inoperable. In order to fill their tanks, Huntertown firefighters have to use a fill station at the Washington Township Fire Department’s station.
Huntertown currently has about $155,000 remaining from the COVID-19 relief funds it received this year. However, some of those funds have already been committed to other projects.
Seifert noted that the treasury recently expanded uses of Indiana Finance Authority Coronavirus Relief Funds, which now include public safety. Town Manager Beth Shellman said the equipment purchase could be viewed as a personal-protective measure for firefighters.
“I think we have a good argument,” Shellman told council members.
Seifert also proposed using some of those funds for a security system at Town Hall.
He noted that having cameras outside the building could have helped the town identify the individuals that recently broke the windows of the Bowser building at the corner of Lima Road and Hunter Street. That building was originally constructed as Huntertown State Bank in the early 1900s. One of the windows — which were original to the construction — contained a bullet hole from when the bank was robbed by John Dillinger’s gang in the 1930s. The windows were repaired in September, and the section of glass containing the bullet hole will be sent to a museum.
In other news
• The town of Huntertown’s 2020 trick-or-treat hours will be the same as the city of Fort Wayne, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 31.
• Town Council approved the installation of a new drain pipe on Oak Street this year, for a cost of just over $28,000. The pipe will tie into the Hunter Street basin and will address issues with standing water outside residents’ homes.
“We get a lot of calls,” Shellman said. “… (The water) just stands at the end of their driveway — it doesn’t drain anywhere.”
Oak Street is scheduled for repaving next year.