2008-04-12 / News

Millersport wants to get quick start on EMS/fire contract

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT - A switch from Waste Management to Big "O" for garbage pickup will save families about $3 a month. Last month, village council members awarded a two-year contract to Big "O" after reviewing bids from incumbent Waste Management, Big "O" and Rumpke.

Vince Popo, acting fiscal officer,believes the Big "O" award will save residents even more during the two year term since fuel surcharges won't be added to bills like Waste Management did. A family with a bin will pay $13.90 a month compared to the $17.04 per month proposed by Waste Management. A senior citizen with a bin pays $12.90 per month compared to $16.64 per month with Waste Management.

Big "O" service started April 1. Waste Management sent out bills for the second quarter and some residents paid them. Residents should seek refunds from Waste Management. "They'll get it back," Mayor Dean Severance vowed.

In other business Tuesday night, council members accepted a recommendation from the pool manager to increase rates this year. A family membership will increase from $175 to $195. However, there are substantial discounts for early purchase - $125 through April, $150 between May 1 -15 and $175 from May 16 -31. After May 31, the new rate applies. Individual memberships increase from $75 to $85. Daily admission moves from $4.00 to $4.50. The pool is expected to open June 4.

Council members also discussed the EMS/firecontract with Walnut Township and the March 25 fireon Bickel Church Road that destroyed the home of Mike and Wanda Thomas. Severance asked Millersport Fire Chief Bill Yates why the department wasn't on the run card for the first alarm.

"You'll have to ask Thurston or Sonny Dupler that," Yates said. The fire was initially reported as at the intersection of Bickel Church Road and Ohio 37. Walnut Township's contract with Millersport sets Bickel Church as the dividing line between the primary run areas for Millersport and the Thurston-Walnut Township Fire Department. Intersections are considered Thurston's area so the Thurston run card came up.

That run card for a structural firedispatches four pieces of equipment from Thurston - an engine, rescue, tanker and medic- and one engine from Basil Joint Fire District's Baltimore station. Nothing is dispatched from Millersport until a second alarm is issued which sends an engine from the Millersport station. A Millersport medic is dispatched if a third alarm is issued.

The Thomas' home is on the north or Millersport side of Bickel Church. Millersport's run card dispatches nine pieces of equipment for a structural fireon the first alarm - two from Thurston, the same Basil engine, three from their Millersport station, one from their FairfieldBeach station and a tanker from Pleasantville. On a second alarm, Millersport adds more equipment from Basil and Pleasantville plus Buckeye Lake and Thornville.

"I try to pull from all departments around," Yates explained. He noted that most departments can get the first piece of equipment out the door quickly, then they have to wait for volunteers to arrive before anything can leave. Yates believes both departments should be dispatched for anything on Bickel Church. Council members strongly agreed.

"We need to start this contract early," council member Gary Matheny said. He called the last two one-year contracts "moronic" due to the legal fees both sides are paying. "We need at least a three year contract," he added. Longer term contracts will minimize legal fees that are coming out of residents' taxes.

Severance and council members hope to submit a contract proposal to trustees sometime next month. The current contract expires Dec. 31.

Popo reported little progress in wrapping up the construction of the new water treatment plant. He expressed some frustration with the general contractor, Crace Construction Company of Piketon, Ohio. Council members agreed to let the Board of Public Affairs address the issues. The board meets Monday, April 14.

Severance and council members thanked Tom Bruck of National Safe for donating a safe to the police department. Council member and safety chair Paul Detty reported that the village will be advertising for some part-time paid officers. "We need to get Randy (Chief Randy Lewis) some help," he explained. "We need to cover Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays."

Detty's proposal that curfew enforcement be stepped up was accepted. The village's curfew requires juveniles under age 14 to be off the streets by 10 p.m., 14-15 by 11 p.m. and 16-17 by midnight. First time offenders and their parents/ legal guardians must have a conference with the mayor. If they refuse, police will issue a juvenile citation to court. Second offenders will be cited to court.

After an extensive discussion, Severance and council members agreed that a delegation of village officials should meet with the new Millersport postmistress to discuss mail delivery issues. Resident Steve Bush, who picks up mail for an elderly neighbor, discovered that the post officehas run out of box space. That has apparently prompted some village residents to put up roadside mail boxes so they can get their mail.

Bush learned, in discussions with the postmistress and officials in Columbus, that once a box goes up on a street that is considered a route. "You get one free form of mail (delivery), but you don't necessarily get to choose," he added. When that one mail box went up on East Park Street, his neighbor had two choices - put up a box herself or start paying a $36 annual fee for a small box at the post office.

"I don't think it is a good idea to put up boxes on those little streets," Bush added. Yates agreed that the boxes will make it more difficultto get emergency vehicles through the area. It also creates additional hazards for snow plowing and school buses.

"This is arbitrarily being done," he said. "It's been done inconsistent." Bush hopes village officials can work out something consistent with the postmistress. Several council members also complained about the post office'srelatively recent practice of returning mail without a post officebox in the address.

Council's next regular meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13.

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