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Wayne Township approves merger with Indianapolis Fire Department

Wayne Township approves merger with IFD

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — After weeks of wrangling, Wayne Township approved a merger between its fire department and the Indianapolis Fire Department.

Wayne Township Trustee Jeb Bardon said the township doesn’t have enough money to pay for firefighter benefits, equipment, and facility upgrades.

“We have been outspending the tax revenue coming in, and that’s related to our contract with the firefighters that causes that expenditure to exceed the revenue,” said Bardon.

Wayne Township firefighters that are absorbed by IFD will maintain their seniority, salary, and benefits.

Civilians will also be included in the merger, though they aren’t guaranteed to have the same position in IFD as they did with Wayne Township. The merger will give the township access to a wider tax base.

“We need money to buy new fire trucks, and new ladder truck, we have a fire station that’s in really bad shape,” Bardon said. “Those are things that need to be addressed.”

The Indianapolis City-County Council must approve the merger, which could happen this spring, and all equipment and staff will be consolidated by the end of the year.

Wayne Township resident Chrissy Hayes is worried the merger will hurt response times.

“I live over here and it takes this many minutes to get here, and if we merge, it’s going to take longer to get to my mother, who is very ill,” said Hayes.

No fire stations in Wayne Township will close under the merger and response times will not be impacted.

“This has happened in five other townships plus the city of Beech Grove,” Bardon said. “Services do not decline. Stations stay where they are, they stay open they stay fully staffed.”

Wayne Township already approved a merger of its EMS services with Indianapolis Emergency Services, which will take effect on March 17.