2008-03-22 / News

Eagle sewer help won't fly

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON- Helping the Buckeye Lake Eagles pay part of the cost to connect to the Buckeye Lake Sewer District system isn't going to happen.

"All efforts to help the Eagles have failed," said Union Township Trustee Jack Justice Monday night. Previously, Eagles Trustee Herman Foster told Union Township Trustees that the private club was $4,000 short on the cost to connect to the sewer line on the southern side of Ohio 79. He asked for assistance from the township.

The connection cost $92,000, including a $62,000 capacity fee. Eagles members were particularly concerned about being asked to pay $11,000 to run under Ohio 37 to attach to the public line.

Foster said that the connection had been made, but the land still needs to be graded and other details must be addressed. A smoking ban and new restrictions on gambling have severely reduced the club's membership and capital, he said. Foster noted that the Eagles have donated money and time to the community and it's now time for the community to give back to the Eagles.

Justice said Monday night that he contacted the Licking County Prosecutor's Officeseveral times and always received the same answer: The Eagles are a private organization, and the township is not allowed to donate public money to private organizations. "The law won't let us do it," said Justice.

In other township news:

• The trustees are considering purchase of approximately 13 acres of land at the southeast corner of the intersection of Blacks Road and Ohio 37. Eventually, they hope to build a satellite firestation, a township hall, and storage facilities. Justice said the location is a good central point for emergency services, and he'd like to see all the township services at one location. Trustee President John Slater said the purchase is very early in its process and there was no further discussion during the Monday night meeting.

• Slater said the pavement is coming loose from a Beaver Run Road bridge, west of Ohio 37 and the structure looks ragged. Licking County road crews should be taking a look at it.

• Slater said a letter sent to the Walnut Township Trustees objecting to a zoning change was "well received," but the change will probably take place anyway. Approximately 280 acres of Walnut Township property is proposed to change from agriculture to industrial; the land nearly abuts Union Township. "We'll have to see what shakes out," said Slater. "It would be sad to see factories go in the middle of that field."

Wednesday, Walnut Township Zoning Inspector Ralph Reeb resisted a media request to provide a copy of the public document in a timely manner, stating that the township had the right to ask for the request in writing, and then had 48 hours to produce the document after receiving the written request.

• Slater said township crews cleared the roads during and following a recent snowstorm without using salt. Salt is generally in short supply this year and the township simply had none. The crews spread "grit" and sand after plowing.

Justice said the snowplow drivers are having a tough time navigating some of the township's new subdivisions. When the roads are snow covered, there's nothing besides mailboxes to show where the road is. The plows are missing curves and becoming stuck.

"This is a problem," said Justice. "Whenever they go off the road, they're done." Justice suggested contracting smaller plow trucks with four-wheel drive, which wouldn't become stuck as easily, to plow the subdivisions. "We need to think about alternatives," he said.

• The trustees unanimously approved a $6,000 contract for EMS services with the Buckeye Lake Fire Department.

• Slater said the trustees and Fire Chief Randy Weekly are on the "right track" toward modifying a report from Med3000- a Pittsburgh based company that handles Hebron and Union Township's EMS billing - to separate income generated from the township and Hebron. The EMS billing program is designed to collect reimbursement from private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Weekly believed he could separate the runs on Hebron's computer records. Earlier, Justice asked for the separation and said Med3000 representatives led him to believe it would be easy to do so. But, the reports coming from Med3000 were not being separated.

According to Hebron's web site, EMS billing occurs when EMS personnel transport a person to a hospital. The person's health insurance provider, Medicare, or Medicaid is billed for the expenses associated with the care and transport. If the patient lives in the Village of Hebron or the contracted portion of Union Township - everything south of the railroad tracks, they will not be billed, even if they don't health insurance.

However, federal regulations require Hebron to make a "reasonable effort" to collect from non-residents which includes Buckeye Lake Village residents. A non-resident's health insurance plan will be billed first. If the health insurance company does not pay the full bill, the balance will be billed directly to the non-resident. If the non-resident doesn't have health insurance, the patient will be billed for the full amount. However, "reasonable effort" does NOT include turning over unpaid EMS transport bills to collection agencies.

• The township should received its refurbished firetruck by the end of this week. Slater said the work was completed under budget. The Tipton, Indiana based Renewed Performance, Inc. refurbished the firetruck for about $86,000. The refurbishment should extend the truck's life by 15 to 20 years, the trustees said previously.

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