2008-01-05 / News

24/7 fire/EMS coverage set for January

By Charles Prince

MILLESPORT - Walnut Township residents can rest easy. The Millersport Fire Department station will continue to be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The department's substation in FairfieldBeach will continue to be staffed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

The department's January duty schedule was quickly filled after a Dec. 27 meeting between township and village officials. Millersport Village Council member Dave Levacy and Millersport Fire Chief Bill Yates meet with Trustees Sonny Dupler and Wally Gabriel at Village Solicitor Tom Corbin's Lancaster office.The township's special firecounsel, Douglas J. Suter of Isaac, Brant, Ledman & Teeotr LLP of Columbus, and the village's special fire counsel, Larry Bennett of Katzman, Logan, Halper and Bennett of Cincinnati, were also present.

Some progress was made, according to Levacy. However, the township will not move on the 60 percent allocation - down from 65 percent last year - or limiting the contract to one year. Dupler said he had a letter from Trustee Ralph Zollinger, who was in Florida, that the 60 percent allocation and one-year term are not negotiable. Levacy said Millersport will pay its special outside counsel out of the village's general fund, rather than the firefund. He hopes that legal fees on both sides can be minimized. Levacy said trustees agreed to reconsider the Fire Ombudsman which was going to be paid out of Millersport's allocation. Suter will be redrafting the contract and village officials hope to see some of their concerns about wording addressed.

The group also discussed trustees concern that "Walnut Township" had been taken off the department's vehicles. Yates explained that the 2007 contract, drafted by the township's attorney, specificallystated the village is "an independent contractor" and is not "an agent of Walnut Township." Consequently, "Walnut Township" was removed from the vehicles to comply with the contract.

"I see a more positive attitude," Fire Chief Bill Yates told The Beacon.

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