Township hires consultant to look at EMS/fire costs
HEBRON - Union Township Trustees entered into a contract with the Cincinnati based Kramer & Associates Fire Service Consultants to study more cost efficient methods of providing fire and EMS services to the township.
Currently, the township contracts with the Granville Township Fire Department to provide emergency services to the area of the township north of the CSX Railroad line. The trustees were shocked to learn that as of this year, Granville Township is charging $50,000 per year for service. The trustees hope they can open a satellite EMS station near Blacks Road to serve the area more cost effectively.
According to the contract, the Kramer & Associates study will provide all of the budgetary and cost data necessary in the conversion of the fireand emergency services to a township firerescue department in a new facility central to the township.
It's anticipated, according to the contract, that the consultant will not exceed approximately 15 hours per week for nine weeks or 135 hours at $90 per hour for a total of $12,150. Billable hours will include time in Union Township and research time at the Kramer & Associates officesin Cincinnati. Travel time between Union Township and Cincinnati will be billed at 50 percent. Expenses are not to exceed $2,000 for a maximum contract price of $14,150 unless increased by mutual agreement.
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 the satellite firestation, a township hall, and storage facilities.
In other township news:
• The township received its refurbished fire truck Monday afternoon. Trustee President John Slater said previously that the work was completed under budget. The Tipton, Indiana based Renewed Performance, Inc. completed the work for about $86,000. The refurbishment should extend the truck's life by 15 to 20 years, the trustees said previously.
• Licking County approved changing Beaver Run Road's speed limit to 45 miles per hour between SR 37 and Thornwood Drive. The township is responsible for providing the signs.
• The Licking County Planning Commission sent a letter to the trustees recommending against granting a zoning change to a 12.13-acre lot on Mill Dam Road owned by Tom Fitzgerald, who requested a change from agriculture to general business zoning. According to the letter, Fitzgerald wants to expand his existing events rental business to rent tents, portable buildings, portable toilets, and other event items. The planning commission recommended against the zoning change because:
*The proposed change is not compliant with the Union Township Comprehensive Plan.
*The zoning change may qualify as spot zoning if the township doesn't intend to establish a commercial corridor in the area.
*The proposed use is not a permitted or conditionally permitted use in the district.
*All the permitted or conditionally permitted uses in the district are not compatible with the area's existing or future land use.
*The current infrastructure is not well suited for all the permitted or conditionally permitted uses.
The trustees will have a zoning hearing May 5, and decide for themselves.
• The trustees objected to a recent Beacon editorial, which criticized the trustees for failing to discuss publicly a letter sent to the Walnut Township Zoning Commission opposing a zoning change, before the letter was sent. According to the editorial, the oversight made the letter "invalid."
Trustee Jack Justice disagreed. In a prepared statement, he wrote, "It must be noted, as recorded in the minutes of the meeting of the Board of Union Township Trustees on February 18 the subject of the proposed Walnut Township zoning change request and the concerns of our governing body in relation to said change were discussed.
"The letter dated February 28, 2008 was presented to the Board of Union Township Trustees at our regularly scheduled (meeting) on March 3, 2008. It was at this meeting that the board voted in approval of and signed the letter to be carried forward to (the) Walnut Township Zoning meeting to be held on March 6, 2008. This action again is well documented in the minutes of the March 3, 2008 meeting of the Board of Union Township Trustees. Thus the letter is unquestionably valid and should be considered as such by Walnut Township."
Justice said Monday night that representatives at the county level agreed the letter is "valid" and "everything was above board."
"To drag Union Township into that was unfair," said Slater.