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Tensions flare during Fairfield Township Board Meeting

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — The Fairfield Township Trustee is clearing the air about multiple accusations made against her.

"My board is hostile," said Fairfield Township Trustee Taletha Coles.

Tensions were high as the Fairfield Township board met to discuss the 2022 budget on Tuesday morning.

Less than 10 minutes into the meeting, Board President Stephen Snyder walked out.

Trustee Taletha Coles says she's requesting the same amount as last year to avoid raising taxes, but technically it's the same as 2020 due to Coles not submitting a budget for 2021.

Things got heated when it came to the Lafayette Fire Department, which provides service to the township.

As we've reported, Fire Chief Richard Doyle says the township owes the department 300-thousand dollars, but Coles disputes that.

"Fairfield Township does not owe the fire department any money," Coles said. "We bought a fire truck in 2015, therefore, we don't owe them money. They've been getting $100,000 a year, and I've been told they're using it on their parties."

Coles said a former trustee did not require an itemized budget list from the Lafayette Fire Department.

"I do understand that they need more equipment, and I'm all about giving them money," Coles explained. "I want to know what they're spending it on. Just like everyone else that gets money from us."

Coles wants to put some of the budget into other resources.

"I hear we need ambulances," she said. "That there's a shortage of ambulances and drivers and people to do that. So, maybe we need to be looking at this money a little different and steering towards an ambulance service or getting more ambulances."

Board Secretary Rocky Hession said that's just not true.

"She said there's dire need," Hession said. "There's no dire need that I've ever seen."

Coles' former employees allege unclaimed cremains of township residents are in her office.

She said she's asked a funeral home to pick them up, but they will stay in her office safe until that happens.

However, she had plans for the ashes.

"I was going to find a way to bury them at the Greenbush Cemetery," Coles said.

Coles said she's going to keep doing her job despite the push back from the board.

"It's hard to share information with my board because I cannot trust them," Coles said.

Hession said the feeling is mutual and told News 18 plans to run against Coles in the next election. "She has to have the trust of us that she's going to do it right, and that's been worn away," Hession added.

On Tuesday evening, Coles sent a letter to local media addressing Rocky Hession's announcement to run for Fairfield Township Trustee. 

"...As for Rocky forming a committee to run for Township trustee, it’s sad knowing that I never had a chance with my board and that no other trustee throughout Indiana I have spoken to has ever heard of such hostility coming from a board but if that is what he wants to do, I say go for it, I am glad he found something he is good at and life is to short so I hope he enjoys it as well. I just hope if I don’t win that no trustee after me ever has to go through the nightmare I have been going through. I have hopefully improved this office enough for anyone coming in after me to step right into the position as it should have been for me. This will only help our community continue to grow in harmony because we all know how much it has been growing population wise. I am a servant and I will continue to serve long after being Fairfield Trustee, this was just a blessing along the way.

I would like to know what difference will Rocky make? What has he done for the community or for this office? I am afraid what he’ll bring will be filled with conflict and confusion similar to what I have gone through and the community will suffer so, I’m voting for me…."

The complete message can be read below.

The township board will vote on the budget at their next meeting on Oct. 29.

--Below is the complete issued statement--

I wish my board used half as much energy to assist me during this trying time during covid verses the many attempts of tearing me and the township down.

Having their support and more minds with ideas would have been beneficial and it would have been an amazing experience for not only us but for our township residents.

They have created many challenges that I have overcome which has made me stronger along with the many constituents who have continued to support me along the way, both Democrats and Republicans which is a blessing in itself, when so many try to divide parties, we found a way to work together.

I was faced with many township improvements that were a must and the Greenbush Cemetery Sexton house was crumbling along with the roof rotting away. It would have been wonderful to have had the board supporting me and assisting with the projects. Along with helping me with the project of getting the Greenbush Cemetery into the State and National Historical Landmark, I went to the ceremony at the State Fair to receive them. What a amazing experience to be a part of Fairfield Townships History. These are considered day to day operations that the Trustee handles however, I feel team work brings people together and is a positive for all and I would have loved to have shared the experience with my board and committees I asked them to help me form. I thought I had a board that would help me build our community up verses causing confusion, I worked towards harmony and received discordance.

Sure, it would have been nice to move forward with the board but they have shown me with their hostility and unwillingness that this will not happen so I am looking forward to the next election and hope with my experience and knowledge I have learned during this term that the next board members will want to grow with me and be a part of serving our community as it deserves.

As for Rocky forming a committee to run for Township trustee, it’s sad knowing that I never had a chance with my board and that no other trustee throughout Indiana I have spoken to has ever heard of such hostility coming from a board but if that is what he wants to do, I say go for it, I am glad he found something he is good at and life is to short so I hope he enjoys it as well. I just hope if I don’t win that no trustee after me ever has to go through the nightmare I have been going through. I have hopefully improved this office enough for anyone coming in after me to step right into the position as it should have been for me. This will only help our community continue to grow in harmony because we all know how much it has been growing population wise. I am a servant and I will continue to serve long after being Fairfield Trustee, this was just a blessing along the way.

I would like to know what difference will Rocky make? What has he done for the community or for this office? I am afraid what he’ll bring will be filled with conflict and confusion similar to what I have gone through and the community will suffer so, I’m voting for me….

When they go low, we go high….

Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world…..

Sincerely,

Taletha Coles

Fairfield Township Trustee

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