2011-09-24 / News

Firefighters should be more visible on medic runs

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Fire Company members on squad runs will soon be outfitted with more visible gear.

Trustees Joe Hart and Dave Miller agreed to spend up to $11,000 Monday night to buy 30 special purpose winter coats for firefighters and 30 polo shirts to replace the current t-shirts given volunteers. The highly reflective winter coats include an inner liner that can be removed and worn separately.

“It is a step up for them (firefighters),” Fire Chief Mike Wilson told trustees. “I think it is worth it. We do have the money (in the budget).” Wilson said the new coats are impervious to blood which will cut cleaning costs.

Trustees decided to order the same coats for their two-man road crew. Hart said he was shocked last week when he saw how little attention drivers pay to firefighters at an emergency scene.

In other business Monday night, trustees appointed The Woods resident Ed Rickels to the vacancy on the township zoning commission caused by Chris Neff’s resignation. The appointment came after a 20-minute executive session to interview Rickels. Zoning Commission Chair Dale Wise and Zoning Inspector Joe Walker participated in the interview.

Road supervisor Steve Patterson reported that there have been several complaints from school bus drivers about limbs overhanging the roadway in Edgewater Beach and scraping passing school buses. Patterson said the limbs were too big and high for the township’s equipment. A tree service will be contacted for an estimate.

Though responsibility for the trees is unknown at this time, Hart wants to check with the prosecutor and county engineer’s offices to see if the township can recover its costs if the trees are on private property and the property owner refuses to trim them back.

Miller wants to move ahead on the purchase of a new dump truck. He said it doesn’t make sense to spend some $10,000 for a new engine and transmission on a truck worth about $5,000.

“I am not opposed to a new truck,” Hart told Miller. But he wants to know if they are in a deficit this year – spending more than what’s coming in. He added that trustees spent some of the township’s reserve last year and are likely doing the same this year.

Hart added that the township’s recent $3 million estate tax windfall should be “wisely and very conservatively” managed. He suggested that a portion of it – to be determined after much more discussion – be put in a preservation of capital account. Money for capital equipment purchases like a dump truck or medic would be funded out of the account, saving the township interest costs by eliminating loans. However, the account would be repaid out of the appropriate department’s operating budget so the funds are available for future capital purchases.

“We need to set an example for that windfall,” Hart said. “There will be a tendency to spend money that we don’t have (from taxes) because that money is there.”

“It is not like we are spending down and leaving $10 in the bank account,” Miller responded. “We could have bought it (dump truck) with the repair bills.”

“ I think we should have a capital plan,” Hart said. He made a similar proposal last year when trustees were considering the purchase of the specialized pot hole patcher. Hart wants trustees to look ahead at what equipment is going to be needed and plan accordingly. He agreed to go with Miller to look at the proposed dump truck.

Miller reported that The Shelly Company had agreed to extend the resurfacing work on White Chapel Road for the amount of the county engineer’s estimate. Hart supports the additional work but believes trustees must unanimously approve it according to Ohio law. Trustee Ron Acord was absent. Hart is willing to hold a special meeting if necessary to avoid delaying the project.

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