2010-01-23 / News

Trustees gear up for new year

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON– Union Township Trustees Jesse Ours and Rick Black wasted no time nominating Trustee John Slater for another term as trustee president as the trustees spent the first part of Monday night’s meeting organizing for the coming year. Ours was nominated and elected as vice president.

Next, trustees increased the dollar expenditure limit that one trustee could authorize for township expenses, particularly for township equipment. Previously, township employees needed two trustees’ permission to spend $500 or more for equipment or repairs. Slater said most expenditures are more than $500 these days and suggested raising the limit to where one trustee could authorize up to $2,500.

“I don’t have a problem with $1,000,” said Black. Ours and Slater agreed.

Granville Fire Chief Jeff Hussey, whose department serves the portion of Union Township north of the CSX Railway, sent a summary of its 2009 activities to the trustees. Union Township contracted the Granville Township Fire Department’s services for $65,000 last year and will pay $80,000 this year. Hussey said the Granville Township Fire Department responded to a total of 1,155 emergency calls last year, 64 of which were within Union Township, representing 5.5 percent of the department’s total runs..

Hussey said his department battled three major fires last year with damages totaling $184,000. There were no major fires in Union Township last year. “Our total fire loss would be considered very low for our community by industry standards,” he said.

The Granville Township Fire Department added three additional full-time firefighter/ paramedics with help from a federal grant program. Hussey said the increased staffing levels improved response times to Union Township. On average, response to Union Township improved by two minutes and 45 seconds since 2006, one year before Granville Township took over operations from the Granville Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. In 2009, the average response time to Union Township was eight minutes, 44 seconds.

Hussey said the Granville department is working closely with the Hebron Fire Department, which also contracts with Union Township, to perform fire inspection duties in the Granville department’s contract area.

Tuesday, Hussey said townships without their own fire departments, like Union Township, are required to have a fire prevention officer inspect structures for fire hazards. Granville Township will have five fire prevention officers available to inspect the areas it covers, including Michael Duncan, a part-time fire inspection officer who does “99 percent” of the Granville Township department inspections, including those in Union Township.

Hussey said the four others are available to cover for Duncan when he’s off duty. He said Hebron has its own inspector but he prefers to have his own inspectors as well. “We felt it was important to inspect all the buildings we’re protecting,” said Hussey. He asked the trustees to appoint the following Granville Township Certified Fire Safety Inspectors as Deputy Fire Prevention Officers in Union Township: Hussey, Duncan, Captain Russell Thompson, Lieutenant Casey Curtis, and Lieuten- ant Thomas Bowman.

Wednesday, Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly said fire fighter Brad Essex, a part-time fire fighter with three years on the Hebron force, will be Hebron’s fire inspector beginning in February. “We want to give residents and businesses more than just a fire truck and a squad,” he said. “The inspector helps us understand what’s going on in the community.” Essex will lead a group of Hebron fire fighters who are qualified to do fire inspections. Weekly looks forward to working with the Granville fire inspectors.

In a related issue, Slater said Hebron Village Council members are eager to discuss the trustees’ 2010 contract with the Hebron Fire Department. Discussions about the 2009 contract stretched through the entire year as the trustees and council debated EMS billing revenue distribution.

“We want to be involved, be in on the decision,” said Slater, who wants the township to be directly involved in all aspects 2010 contract negotiations. “I’ve made that very clear,” he said.

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