Fire District Proposal

07/24/2020 Update:
We will be holding public informational meetings to discuss the financial and service impact of this merger and to answer any questions that you might have. These are scheduled for the following dates:
– Tuesday, August 4 at 6:30 p.m. (Zoom webinar ID – 845 6657 3669)
– Thursday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m. (Zoom webinar ID – 874 2572 3326)
– Saturday, August 8 at 10:00 a.m. (Zoom webinar ID – 873 2355 8564)

Panelists will include:
– Michelle Bright – Benton Township Trustee
– Joe Husk, Hans Kelson, and Lynn Stevens – Benton Township Board
– Fire Chief Charles Powers – Benton Township Volunteer Fire Department
– Fire Chief Dustin Dillard – Monroe Fire Protection District
– Paige Sansone, CPA  and Susan Cowen, CPA –  Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, LLC
– Jeffrey Bellamy – Attorney specializing in Township Government

The meetings will be held at the Benton Township Fire Department located at 7606 E. State Road 45 in Unionville. We hope that we will be able to have them in person, but recognize that we may have to adjust plans if state and/or county public health orders change between now and then. For the in person meetings, attendees will be screened for COVID before entering and seats will be socially distanced. Attendees are also required to wear either a face mask or face shield (we will have some on hand if needed).

We are asking those that are able to attend online or calling in please do so one of two ways:
– Option 1: Join online. Go to, and click “Join a Meeting.” Enter webinar ID for the session you are attending and password 741795.
– Option 2: Join by telephone. Dial 1 312 626 6799 and enter webinar ID for the session you are attending and password 741795.

Slide decks are posted, but please save your questions for the public meetings so that the best suited panelist will be able to answer questions to all attendees.

Baker Tilly Financial Presentation
Benton Township Trustee Presentation
Comparison of Fire District versus Fire Territory
Recording of August 8 2020 Public Hearing

Other Helpful Links:
Gateway Report Builder (view Budgets, Annual Reports, etc.)

With our taxpayer’s health a priority, the Benton Township public officials have decided to postpone the public meetings that were originally scheduled for next week regarding joining the Monroe Fire District. We will send out a postcard with the new dates once they are set. Stay safe everyone!

Benton Township Public Officials asking Taxpayers for support to join the Monroe Fire Protection District

February 12, 2020
Our Township strives to provide the highest quality fire and emergency services to our residents. We are now at a critical decision-making point regarding how our fire protection services are provided, since the way we have been providing services for over 40 years is no longer available and we need to plan for the future.

As with many other volunteer township fire departments across the state, we at a critical situation in which our expenses to run a volunteer fire department and to contract with a career fire department is more than our maximum revenue. Last year, we had to dip into our cash reserves in order to cover our basic expenses, and we are only able to do that for a short time. Even contracting with the Fire District, or hiring our own paid staff, is costs significantly more than what we can afford long-term at our current tax levels.

The Benton Township Trustee, along with the Township Board, has been aware of our precarious position for the last several years. During that time, we have worked diligently to find the best option to ensure our residents have high-quality fire protection and emergency services for the lowest cost for the long term. We have come to the conclusion that the best way to do this is for us to follow the footsteps of Indian Creek, Van Buren, and Bloomington Townships and join the Monroe Fire Protection District.

How will we benefit by joining? We will receive:

  • Benton Township’s first full time paid firefighters (two per shift), who will serve our community alongside our volunteer firefighters;
  • Faster response times to fire and medical emergencies by having first responders available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from our fire station;
  • Possible savings on homeowner’s insurance rates (depending on your agency);
  • Reduced administrative and operating costs by streamlining services; and
  • Minimize tax impact by spreading the cost of services over a larger number of people.

This improved level of service is sustainable by tax revenue and is not conditioned on any Federal or State grant.

In order to move forward, we need eligible property owners to cast a vote by signing and returning a postcard to the Township Trustee indicating they are interested in joining the Monroe Fire District.

We will be holding public meetings to discuss in more detail how these changes will impact taxpayers and to answer any questions that you might have. Please join us at the Unionville Senior Center (7616 E. State Road 45, Unionville, IN) at 6:30 p.m. on either March 23, March 24, or March 26. Each meeting will feature the same presentation

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (Last updated 02/27/2020)
Will be updated frequently as people contact us

PRESS RELEASES (Last updated 02/14/2020)
B Square Beacon (02/13/2020): County commissioners agree to Benton Township on path to join Monroe County Fire Protection District
The Herald Times (02/14/2020): Benton Township considering joining fire protection district  This is behind the H-T paywall. Please contact our office if you would like a paper copy mailed to you.

Questions? Please contact Benton Township Trustee Michelle Bright at 812-339-6593 or to set up a time to talk on the phone or meet in person.