2012-11-24 / News

Township cuts fire contract by $230,000

By Scott Rawdon

UNION TOWNSHIP – Union Township Trustees unanimously approved a one-year fire service contract with the Hebron Fire Department Monday night. “I’m comfortable with it,” said Trustee Rick Black.

Trustee President John Slater agreed. “As far as our end, we’re good with this,” he said.

Hebron has yet to lend its approval.

The township offered $420,000 for the year, although currently the township is paying roughly $650,000 per year for fire and EMS services. Previously, Black said the township has been dipping into its general fund to cover the existing $650,000 contract and there’s simply no general fund money left to use toward the next contract with Hebron. Black said general fund money can be used toward fire and EMS service, but, “It shouldn’t be.” He said the former township fiscal officer led trustees to believe the township had more money than it did, and if trustees were aware that general fund money would be used toward the existing contract, they may not have agreed to it.

Trustees said this time around the township can’t spend any more than the $505,631 per year its 1.8 mills and 1.5 mills fire levies generate. The township also pays $80,000 per year to the Granville Township Fire Department to serve the portion north of the railroad.

A two-year contract for fire and EMS service to the unincorporated portions of the township south of the Columbus and Ohio River railroad expires at the end of this year. Currently, Union Township pays 60 percent of the Hebron department’s operating expenses, while the township receives 100 percent of the net revenue from EMS billing from patient transports in the contract area.

Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason attended Monday night’s meeting and prior to the trustees’ vote, he said it was important to him and village council members to finalize a contract at least for this year, and then go from there. “Council is very desirous of getting a contract signed,” he said. Mason said Hebron has an opportunity to purchase a new 2012 squad for $184,000. He said it’s a necessary purchase because the squads the township owns are 2007 and 2009 models. “They have some miles,” said Mason.

He wants the new squad to serve as a back-up. Mason said the squad would’ve been purchased with the township’s contract money if it were paying $650,000, but, since it’s only paying $420,000, the village will purchase the squad through its capital improvement fund. He said beginning with model year 2013, there will be more regulations on squads, so the village can save significant money by purchasing a 2012 model. “We understand you are limited to $420,000,” said Mason. Hebron Village Council is the contract’s next stop.

In other township news:

• Black said the bridge on Canyon Road, north of Lees Road, is open to traffic. “They did a nice job,” he said, adding that it’s much wider than its predecessor. “Oh, wow, what an improvement,” said Black.

Slater said the bridge would receive a final coat of asphalt at a later date and is still covered in gravel. He said it’s settling a bit, but it’s safe for travel. “It’s better to let the settling happen to a gravel surface,” he said. Also, the county contractor’s budget won’t allow for more paving until next year. Slater said the old narrow bridge was always a “bottleneck” for traffic and agricultural vehicles. The new bridge provides much more room.

• Township Administrator Paula Greene said an old police cruiser was sold to the Village of Ostrander, near Delaware, for $1. She said Ostrander has a vocational school where its students may be able to resurrect the old cruiser, which needs a lot of work.

“It’s been sitting in inventory for several years,” said Slater. “It was out of action two cruisers ago.”

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