The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

September 22, 2013

Anderson Fire Department stations, staffing debated

Concern about department plans a factor in budget delay

ANDERSON, Ind. — A year ago, city leaders debated staffing levels at the Anderson Fire Department.

This year, the discussion at budget time has turned to closing stations and building a new fire headquarters.

How large a fire department the city needs and can afford in an era of dwindling tax revenue and steadily declining population continues to be an intense political battle.

Last year, that debate centered on department staffing and administration plans to layoff 20 firefighters, nine police officers and employees in other city departments to achieve a balanced budget. A compromise was worked out between the Smith administration and City Council that reduced the number of fire department layoffs to seven and set permanent staffing at 113 firefighters.

Although staffing is still a concern, the focus now is on the department’s plan next year to close stations 1 and 6 and build a new headquarters near St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital.

In June, the department closed station 3, 2130 Columbus Ave., and moved its heavy rescue truck to station 1 at 44 W. Fifth St. Station 3 is now being used as fire investigation and prevention offices, according to Chief Phillip Rogers.

The city’s plans are based largely on a study conducted by R.W. Bassett & Associates, an Illinois fire service consulting firm hired by the Smith administration to evaluate the fire department. The report made 40 specific recommendations. The most controversial are:

u Reducing the number of stations to five, manned by 25 firefighters per shift.

u Closing and relocating stations to eliminate coverage overlap.

u Putting a fourth ambulance into service to reflect the growing number of emergency medical service calls the department responds to.

u Training more firefighters as paramedics -- 80 percent of the department’s workload is medical.

u The department should be sized to handle one structure fire and all EMS calls.

In an interview last week, Mayor Kevin Smith said he’s had to deal with two hard realities in preparing budgets the past two years: a city population that declined by 20,000 over the past couple of decades, and property tax revenue that dropped by $9 million since 2005.

Text Only
Local News
  • The Herald Bulletin NWS - HB0417 - mother arrest - JC 4a Parents speak out about mother coaching baseball after gun incident

    A decision by the Brooklyn Little League to keep a mother who pulled a gun out during a school meeting in the league as a coach and board member has resulted in some parents taking sides on the issue.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB01006 - snow storm - JC 59a FEMA approves disaster aid for 19 counties

    After initially rejecting Indiana's request for federal aid following a brutal winter, the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved disaster relief on Tuesday.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - HB0420 - Ellks - JC 2a Rezoning approved for Elks Lodge building With no objections from surrounding property owners, the former Elks Lodge at 1803 Broadway has been rezoned for a planned banquet hall and catering service.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-HB0423-Primary Election Treasurer Rep-Micah Mitchell Incumbent challenged by first-time candidate

    Kelly Gaskill says she's made numerous improvements in the operation of the Madison County treasurer's office since taking the helm in 2011. But her Republican challenger in the May 6 primary, Micah Mitchell, doesn't shy away from criticizing how Gaskill has run the office.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS - HB0423 - Symphony for Kids - JC 31a.jpg Symphony for Kids draws Anderson-area students

    Nearly 1,000 fifth- and sixth-grade students attended the Anderson Symphony Orchestra's performance Tuesday during the annual Symphony for Kids concert at the Paramount Theatre.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arrest Log: April 23 Arrests made by Madison County law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on Madison County Jail records.

    April 23, 2014

  • Saturday auction fundraiser for Misty Eads On Saturday, a fundraiser auction will be held at Florida Station Church of God, 1045 W. 375N, for Misty Eads who has a rare kidney artery disease called polyarteritis nodosa that requires a kidney transplant.

    April 23, 2014

  • What's Where: April 23 Local meetings and activities are scheduled Wednesday.

    April 23, 2014

  • NWS - HB0423 - Primary Treasurer Dem - Tamie Dixon-Tatum Treasurer candidates want partnerships

    Democrats Kathy Mougeotte and Tamie Dixon-Tatum explain how they were inspired to run for a political office. They are opponents seeking their party's nomination for treasurer in the May 6 primary.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Local & State Briefs: April 23

    A compilation of local and state news items published Wednesday in The Herald Bulletin.

    April 23, 2014

March Staff Photos

Buy and browse more photos from The Herald Bulletin

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Auto Industry Book
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide