2011-05-07 / News

Township road cleanup set for May 12-14

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN - Licking Township’s annual roadway cleanup is set for May 12-14, Trustee Dave Miller announced Monday night.

Volunteers are needed to cleanup along township roadways. Cleanup commitments can be as little as in front of your home. Gloves and bags will be provided. Filled bags will be left along the roadway for pickup on Monday, May 16. Call Miller at 404-4720 to volunteer and get your gloves and bags.

In other township business, Fire Chief Mike Wilson said the fire company made 77 runs in April - 65 EMS and 12 fire. Year-to-date runs now total 293. Fire Captain Mike Briggs asked trustees to approve Christopher Van Balen as a volunteer firefighter. He is a Licking County deputy sheriff. His appointment was unanimously approved.

At the April 18 trustees’ meeting, Wilson said Franklin Township Trustees have purchased a newer squad for the company to use out of Station 2 in Franklin Township. The Licking Township Fire Company is one of three departments contracted to provide EMS and fire services in Franklin Township. Wilson wants to buy the old squad to replace the aged van used by the dive and rescue team. He said Franklin Township Trustees were willing to sell it for $1,000. Trustees unanimously approved the purchase.

Trustees also approved Wilson’s request to spend $750 - $1,000 for a laptop computer for training and updating map data. The department is currently borrowing a member’s computer. Wilson also addressed the failure of the township’s emergency siren to sound the week of April 11. After some troubleshooting and testing, they determined that the siren’s antenna isn’t high enough to consistently receive the triggering radio signal. Fire fighters will raise its height.

Monday night trustees briefly discussed an opinion from the Licking County Prosecutor’s Office on EMS billing. The general opinion sent to all townships in the county concluded that “only the board of township trustees is authorized to determine if EMS billing will be permitted in their township.” That will affect some existing practices where a neighboring township or fire department with EMS billing is charging for EMS transports when it provides services either via contract or mutual aid in a township that has not authorized EMS billing.

The opinion could affect the fire company’s relationship with Franklin Township. It is the only one of the three departments not billing Franklin Township residents for EMS transports. That appears at odds with the opinion that also states that trustees “may not ‘pick and choose’ where EMS billing will be effective.” Consequently, both Licking and Franklin township trustees had some specific questions for the prosecutor’s office which asked that they be jointly submitted in writing. Trustees signed the letter Monday night.

For months, Zoning Inspector Joe Walker has been reporting very little activity, generally turning in fees for one or two minor zoning permits. But on April 18, he turned in $435 in fees including permits for two new homes. His May 1 report was more typical, listing one permit for $50 for a room addition.

Progress continues to be slow on possibly soliciting bids for a single residential waste hauler, but Miller did have an update after a conversation with assistant county prosecutor Jim Miller. Jim Miller said Harbor Hills has to be in or out; the subdivision can’t wait to compare the township’s bid with its current arrangement with Waste Management. Bill Ours, who represents Harbor Hills at trustees’ meeting, quickly answered the question. “They (homeowners association board members) want to opt out,” he told trustees.

Dave Miller said he has heard from about 10 residents who have paid their current hauler for the entire year and are concerned whether they could get a refund if the township awards its contract to a different hauler. President Joe Hart suggested that discussion of a single hauler be tabled until all three trustees are available. Acord had left the meeting early to pick up his wife.

Trustees also resolved the township’s sick leave policy April 18 after a revision approved last December was quickly rescinded. Miller had wanted to see how other townships handled sick leave, but reported that none of the five he contacted had responded to him. Currently, full-time employees receive 15 sick leave days per year and can turn unused days into paid days at the end of each year. “It gives you a three-week bonus for coming to work,” Hart explained.

The proposed policy would continue to provide 15 sick leave days per year, but would cap them at a total of 45 days and would stop the sale of sick leave days. That didn’t sit well with road supervisor Steve Patterson who hasn’t missed a day in 17 years and gets three weeks of pay each year for his unused sick leave.

Miller proposed to soften the blow by suggesting paying a $500 attendance bonus if an employee doesn’t use any sick leave days during a calendar year. “I don’t have a problem with that,” Hart said. Acord was polled on his opinion as he left the meeting early to pick up his wife. The new policy including the bonus was approved 2-0.

During public comments on April 18, Ed Monroe of the Dogwood Lakes subdivision told trustees that a familiar problem has returned. He said Robert Snedden Sr. who lives at the corner of US 40 and Somerset Road has again placed rocks on the roadway. Snedden has a long standing dispute with trustees about the location of Somerset Road, contending that a 2004 township resurfacing project extended the road some three and a half feet onto his property.

Trustees have determined several times that objects placed on the roadway by Snedden are a safety hazard and constitute a nuisance. Township employees have moved the objects twice after such declarations and on other occasions Snedden has voluntarily removed them.

Monroe said the objects are again a safety hazard and make it difficult for larger vehicles or vehicles with trailers to make the turn on or off US 40 without partially obstructing oncoming traffic on Somerset Road.

Licking County Municipal Judge David Stansbury encouraged trustees to make use of the Court’s Community Service Program. Individuals ordered to perform community service or those working off fines are available on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. They do a lot of picking up trash, landscaping and some painting. The Court provides transportation and a supervisor with the township providing any needed tools. “It is a valuable resource,” Stansbury told trustees.

Trustees’ next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 16 at the Licking Township Fire Company Station 3 on Jacksontown Road (Ohio 13).

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