2010-11-20 / News

Fire contract finally approved

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Union Township Trustees unanimously approved a contract with the Hebron Fire Department Monday night following nearly a year of negotiations. Hebron Village Council’s approval is the final step and Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason, present at Monday’s trustees meeting, said council would likely vote on the contract in December.

“There’s nothing extremely divisive here,” said Trustee President John Slater as the trustees read the contract proposal. EMS billing revenue and how it’s used and distributed has been the main sticking point in negotiations since late last year.

The new contract covers 2010, 2011, and 2012, and Union Township is responsible for 60 percent of the Hebron Fire Department’s operational expenses each year. The township will pay $607,829.00 for 2010, much of which is already paid. Hebron Fiscal Officer Jessica Ethell said Wednesday that an exact total for 2011 wouldn’t be calculated until the contract is officially approved. According to the contract, an amount for 2012 must be provided the township by Nov. 1, 2011.

The township will receive 100 percent of the EMS billing revenue generated in the unincorporated areas of the township, which excludes Hebron and Buckeye Lake villages, and other mutual aid calls. The township may use the income as it wishes. Hebron Village and Union Township will split the 6.5 percent collection fee billing administrator MED 3000 charges to process the billing. Although Hebron Village would distribute revenue to the township, it will not charge the township a processing fee. The township will receive its share of the revenue monthly.

Earlier in the year, trustees vied for 60 percent of the total EMS billing revenue generated in the township because the township covers 60 percent of the fire department’s operational expenses. Trustees wanted to use the revenue to offset its payments to the Hebron Fire Department. Hebron Village officials, who wanted to use the income toward department capital improvements, disagreed. Months of wrangling produced the current proposed contract.

“I certainly don’t see any problems,” said Mason, who predicted the Hebron Village Council would also approve the contract, although it won’t vote on it until its Dec. 8 meeting.

In other township news:

• Trustee Jesse Ours said Hebron’s Strait & Lamp Lumber Company volunteered to provide a crane to remove the steeple from the former Licking Baptist Church, which the township purchased for office space and storage. “It’s a community service,” he said. Ours will provide labor from his construction company at no cost to the township. He estimated the steeple would be removed before Thanksgiving.

• The township and the Mill Dam Corner Grille continue to spar over parking. “We’ve reached a point of frustration on the county’s part,” said Slater. The township is trying to keep Grille customers from parking on the east side of Mill Dam road. based on concerns that it’s unsafe for pedestrians to cross the busy road to reach their vehicles. He said several “no parking” signs were erected at the site, but immediately removed.

Union Township Police Chief Paula Greene said the Licking County Engineer’s Office gave her permission to place no parking signs at the site and recommended she inform the Division of Liquor Control if the grille refuses to cooperate. Continued dispute over the parking may affect renewal of the grille’s liquor license, said Greene. “Liquor control wants to know if Mill Dam isn’t cooperating,” she said. Greene said she’s had “conversation after conversation” with the grille.

“By no means are the trustees trying to shut down the bar,” said Slater. He wants the establishment to expand its parking on its own side of Mill Dam Road so pedestrians won’t cross the street.

Greene suggested installing a guardrail to block the no parking site.

“We have to get this fixed,” said Slater. The trustees will discuss the issue again at their next meeting.

Mill Dam Corner Grille management could not be reached for comment.

• Trustees agreed to pay the Shelly Company 90 percent of the bill for $212,000 worth of road repaving around the township. Ten percent will be withheld while the company addresses several places where the asphalt didn’t stabilize properly, mainly due to environmental conditions. “They’re willing to go beyond the call of duty to back up what they’re doing,” said Slater. He said the streets should weather the winter without any problems and the Shelly Company would continue to repair the roads this spring. Slater said Grande Pointe Road looks good, but there are still several places with asphalt damage. “Ninety-eight percent of the roads are perfect,” said Slater.

• The township will reinstall a culvert on Swamp Road, which Slater said the county installed incorrectly. “The county said if the township wants it installed correctly, the township has to do it,” he said. “There’s a lot of passion to have this done right.” Slater said the township must install it eight inches deeper and lay new pipe to ensure proper drainage. He said a “bad sequence of events” led to the improper installation. “There was a golden opportunity to get it right, and it didn’t happen,” said Slater.

• Granville Township Fire Chief Jeff Hussey attended Monday night’s meeting to remind the trustees that his department sent Union Township a fire contract; Granville Township fire and EMS cover the area of Union Township north of the CSX railway.

Granville’s proposed contract charges $80,000 per year for the next two years, which matches the current contract. “No big surprises there,” he said. “We recognize everybody’s budgets are tight.” Hussey said the proposed contract mentions EMS billing, even though he has no plans to collect it. “I want to emphasize that there is currently no consideration being given to EMS billing from Granville at this time,” he said. If Granville were to engage in EMS billing, such revenues from both Granville Township residents and contract township residents would be used to directly support the delivery of quality EMS services directly, including training, equipment, disposables and potentially even vehicles, he said.

Slater said trustees would likely take action on the Granville contract during their next regular meeting Dec. 6.

• Extreme Solutions Paving Company will receive $1,300 for ten hours worth of road repairs. Slater said the company heats the existing asphalt, bonding it to as much new asphalt as needed to make the repair. “I was really impressed with the company,” he said. Extreme Solutions will spend the ten hours repairing various minor flaws on township roads.

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