WELCOME TO VERNON TOWNSHIP INDIANA
Welcome! Vernon Township is located in the northwest corner of Hancock County, Indiana. Our office represents the historic main street town of Fortville, the growing town of McCordsville and the adjacent unincorporated rural community with majestic round barns and bountiful fields.
Township Status Report: September 1, 2020
As the towns of McCordsville and Fortville develop and grow, Vernon Township is working hard to provide efficient and effective services. We are studying comparable townships and seeking the best models as we evolve our programs and operations to match our changing landscape.
Those changes include the dramatic impacts from the COVID 19 outbreak. We understand that the importance of Public Safety and Township Assistance are particularly critical at this moment.
While our leadership staff is part-time, they are still incredibly productive albeit with limited resources. Our team includes Deputy Trustee of Finance and Administration – Amanda Fronek, Chad Abel – Vernon Township Fire Chief, and Community Services Director – Stacy Nielsen. They are working diligently despite these trying circumstances. All three, Amanda, Chad and Stacy, have gone above and beyond in their efforts to dramatically improve the quality of Vernon Township services.
Fire and Ambulance Service
The Township is at an important juncture as we transition from all volunteer fire to a full-time management fire department model. We are presently operating with 18 – 30-year-old apparatus and started 2019 with two volunteer fire stations. There have been many changes and there are many more to come.
Formed Vernon Township Fire Department (VTFD) and opened the first Vernon Township Fire Station (#3) in Fortville for operations in May 2019. We conducted the public grand opening on September 7, 2019.
Fortville and McCordsville Volunteer Firefighters were invited to join VTFD when VTFD hired part-time and paid per run firefighters for 24/7/365 coverage at Station #3 in Fortville effective October 1, 2019.
Operated Firefighter I and II training program for 19 trainees in 2019-20.
Brought Ambulance service in-house January 1, 2020 to save the Township approx. $140,000 per year over outsourcing. EMS Chief Kiely Culberson led these efforts and got our Advance Life Service (ALS) certification completed in record time.
Applied for Special Legislation in January 2020 but was encouraged by the Indiana Senate and DLGF to form a Fire Territory to resolve the Vernon Township Fire and EMS funding issue.
The Fire Territory financial analysis and hearings were completed in partnership with the Towns of McCordsville and Fortville in the Spring of 2020. The vote of the two town councils and the township board was on June 17, 2020. They unanimously voted to form a Fire Territory and fix the funding problems.
Conducted public CPR and public safety classes for local youth organizations.
The VTFD Task Force engaged key community leaders and public safety officials in planning for the future of fire and ambulance service during 2019. The new Fire Territory Advisory Board takes that same leadership role in the summer of 2020. The Board is made up of Greg Brewer (McCordsville Town Council), Robert Holland (Fortville Town Council), Florence May (Vernon Township Trustee) and ex- officio Chad Abel (Vernon Township Fire Department Chief).
The Township and Territory have approved the purchase of a new ambulance and two new fire engines. These purchases are particularly important as our apparatus is failing regularly. We are most grateful to our neighbor departments who have loaned us equipment on a regular basis.
In Summer of 2020, VTFD announced Mark Elder is our new Fire Marshal and we look forward to announcing our Fire Prevention program in the upcoming months.
Our goal is to optimize use of Vernon Township properties while ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent in the most efficient ways. We have made major changes but still have several other options to consider over the next few months.
Moved the Vernon Township Office to old SEALS ambulance office on Broadway (Fortville) in 2019.
Sold two excess properties (104 Main Street and 726 W. Broadway) to help pay for the first debt payment on the new station in 2019.
Partnered with Mt Vernon Schools on parks and cemetery clean up and beautification projects.
Replaced rusted swing set and basketball backboards in Old School Park – McCordsville in the Fall of 2019.
Multi-year renovation completed at McCordsville Cemetery in 2019. Renovations of historic cemetery on State Rd 234 will begin in Fall 2020.
Investigating lease/sale options for the Medical Center Complex in 2020.
Vernon Township Board voted to transfer Hampton Fields to the Town of Fortville and Old School Park to the Town of McCordsville effective January 2021. Storm damage to bleachers and fence are being fixed. And Softball Fields received new dirt and treatments this spring.
Township Assistance and Community Engagement
We see a substantial change in financial pressure, and we are finding new ways to serve people who face serious economic challenges due to the COVID 19 outbreak. As the township grows, we are also working to establish better community communications.
Partnering with local and county non-profits to assist those in dire circumstances was a major focus during 2019. With the COVID 19 crisis in the Spring of 2020, these partnerships are critical in providing support to a growing number of residents.
The Pack the Pantries Initiative secured more than 500 bags of food in early May for 3 local food pantries. Additional partner programs are planned for the Fall.
Created the first Vernon Township website and Facebook page in 2019 to improve community communications. Township Twitter and Instagram accounts were added in 2020.
Introduced Honor Flag program in partnership with Exchange Club of Hancock County during Memorial Day and Veterans Day 2019. This program was expanded with recognition of our First Responders in May 2020 during the COVID 19 outbreak.
Established the community garden in a 2020 FFA partnership led by MVHS student Lillie Fronek and with a grant from Purdue Extension Services to support our citizens and provide fresh food options to local food pantries. Two eagle scout projects now provide composting stations and a new shed for the gardeners. The gardeners have donated more than 200 pounds of vegetables.
Established official policies and support requirements for the four organized softball leagues using township ball fields in 2020.
Named an official provider for the Indiana Rent Assistance Fund (RAF) in order to help Hancock County landlords and renters navigate this COVID 19 program.
Finance and Administration
We are exploring every option to improve our financial and operational capacity to support 24/7/365 Fire and Ambulance Service to Fortville, McCordsville and unincorporated Vernon Township.
Centralized the financial management of the fire budget in 2019.
Hired financial advisor, Michael Reuter and conducted internal financial workshops in 2019 and 2020.
Completed new Fire Territory Budgeting process.
Growing our support contract with Green Township – Madison County.
Applied for more than $2 million in grants for firefighter paramedic salaries, extrication equipment, firefighter’s self-contained breathing apparatus and training through FEMA, the State of Indiana and Firehouse Subs Foundation in 2020. Received our first training grant in the summer of 2020.
We have more responsibilities than fire and ambulance and sadly, we have unfortunately had to starve some of our other funds (parks in particular) in order to maximize our public safety efforts.
We are working with the towns of McCordsville and Fortville, Hancock County EMA/911, our surrounding automatic and mutual aid fire departments, Mt Vernon Schools, Hancock Regional Hospital, NineStar, Hancock County Economic Development, Hancock County Community Foundation, Love Inc, ICAP, our 5 Food Pantries and many others to bring improved programs and services to Vernon Township. If you or your organization are seeking partnerships that help create a stronger community, please reach out to us.
Wish to learn more about Vernon Township?
I encourage you to review this website and visit our Facebook pages at:
Vernon Township - Hancock County https://www.facebook.com/vernontownshipindiana/
Vernon Township Fire Department https://www.facebook.com/VernonTownshipFD/
Florence L. May
Please see the News & Events page in order to access the Zoom link and meeting details
Sept 29 - Oct 7
Mt. Vernon Community Schools Food Drive- Multiple Sites for Drop Off in McCordsville, Fortville & Mt. Comfort/Cumberland
VERNON TOWNSHIP BOARD MEETING (Budget Hearing)
700 W. Broadway St.
Fortville, IN 46040
VERNON TOWNSHIP BOARD MEETING (Budget Adoption)