The Crawfordsville Fire Department is one step closer to having a merit system.

The Crawfordsville City Council met Monday night and discussed the fire department moving toward a merit system. Currently, the department's personnel decisions are all handled through the the Board of Public Works and Safety.

The proposed change would take hiring, firing and promotions away from the board of works and give it to a new body, a board of fire commissioners.

Councilwoman Heather Perkins Dennison asked about the timing of the change, questioning Fire Chief Larry Patton as to why such a system had not been put in place before now.

Mayor Todd Barton responded to her questioning in support of the measure. He explained that establishing a merit-based commission board to govern the hiring, firing, and promotion of Crawfordsville Fire Department personnel has been one of his personal goals since he occupied the position of fire chief. He went on to say that establishing the merit system is the "next step to professionalizing our fire department."

The ordinance and petitions committee passed the item onto the full council to discuss next week.

In other action, the council:

- Approved a motion to make a pair of temporary stop signs on Phil Ward Boulevard (directly outside the Crawfordsville Ivy Tech Community College campus) permanent.

- Approved an annexation of a small amount of land near Memorial Drive for purposes of claiming the road mileage for proper maintenance funding.

- Discussed and eventually approved a measure that outlined an overall update to the Crawfordsville Police Department's dispersal of funds and costs incurred for various police services. In City attorney Kent Minnette's words: "(It is) the culmination of a lot of effort to clean up... ...fee ordinances not amended since 1991."

The full council will meet Monday night at 7 p.m. at the city building in the city council chambers.