Trustees will wait to June to discuss contract
UNION TOWNSHIP – Trustee President Rick Black told Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly April 15 that trustees will likely wait until June to negotiate a new fire/EMS for 2014. Hebron Safety Committee Chair Alayna Morris wrote trustees last month, asking that discussions start earlier than June which is the specified start date in this year’s contract.
Trustees offered just $420,000 to the Village of Hebron for fire and EMS services in 2013, after paying roughly $625,000 in 2012. The township’s typical 60 percent share of operating expenses was estimated at $645,000 in 2013.
The township’s two fire levies totaling 3.3 mills bring in about $505,631 per year with $80,000 earmarked for the township’s contract with the Granville Township Fire Department.
Trustees blamed the former fiscal officer for leading them to believe the township had more money than it did.
Hebron officials reluctantly approved the reduced contract when Mayor Clifford Mason broke a 3-3 tie vote last December. As part of the deal, trustees agreed to begin discussions early this year on the contract for 2014.
Weekly said he would like to begin sooner so Hebron could prepare for a new contract.
Black said he doesn’t anticipate that the township would have any additional revenue this year over last and reiterated that it would be close to June before the trustees are ready.
Hebron Mayor Clifford L. Mason said Tuesday “It’s not a major hardship” for Hebron if trustees want to wait until June, but he’s anxious to get started.
“It’s a pity they wouldn’t want to sit down,” said Mason. He said it’s better for the township’s residents to get negotiation started. “We’re just trying to be proactive, that’s all,” said Mason. “What a shame they wouldn’t want to meet (sooner). “We’ll just keep notifying the trustees that they need to begin negotiation.”
In other township news:
• Trustees agreed that Triple H Enterprises will crack seal Hartman Farms and the Stone Creek subdivision at a cost of $10,040. Armor Paving and Sealing will crack seal Canyon Villa Drive, Canyon Villa Court, Water’s Edge, Reserve Drive, Dewmar Drive, and Granview Crossing for $9,857. Trustees also agreed to seek bids for chip and seal, and motor paving (asphalt) for a number of township roadways. Trustees will then decide how much they can afford this year.
Possible projects include:
• Chip and sealing the township’s portion of Ridgely Tract Road;
• Leveling with asphalt Canyon Road from Beaver Run Road to the Hebron corporation limit;
• Chip and seal Canyon Road from Beaver Run to Seminary roads;
• Chip and seal Beaver Run Road from Thornwood Drive to Ohio 37;
• Chip and seal Water’s Edge Drive;
• Chip and seal Milliken Drive; and
• Chip and seal Lees Drive.
• Jim Jordan, president of the Water’s Edge Homeowner’s Association attended the meeting, telling trustees that subdivision residents are interested in improved signage and some of the subdivision’s culverts are backed up with debris.
Trustee John Slater said clearing culverts is probably not the township’s responsibility if the culverts are outside of the public right of way.
Jordan asked if trustees could do anything about signage, such as speed limit and children at play signs. Slater said that within a subdivision, trustees may have the authority to lower the speed limit. Jordan suggested lowering the posted limit from 35 to 25 miles per hour. He also asked if the township could resurface the subdivision’s streets with asphalt instead of just chipping and sealing. Slater said asphalt is much more expensive, and once it stabilizes, chip and seal creates a suitable road surface.
• Trustees agreed to renew the township’s exclusive residential trash collection contract with Big- O Refuse for another three years. Township Administrator Paula Greene said the extension will be done at the current fees and terms.
• Black said trustees invited Licking County Commissioner Doug Smith to the May 6 trustees meeting to discuss the possibility of creating a joint fire district with Buckeye Lake, Heath, Hebron, Union Township, and possibly Granville Township.
“We’re just out to gather information at this point,” said Black. He said Smith helped to create the West Licking Joint Fire District and can discuss the pros and cons of fire districts with the trustees. “Every entity has its own unique needs,” said Black. “We want some outside resources in on this.”
Black said Heath Mayor Mark Johns talked to him about the possibility of a fire district during the Hebron Fire Station’s ribbon cutting ceremony April 20. “It’s very early in the process,” said Black. “At least we’re talking.” He said Granville’s participation would likely be necessary for the district to work for Union Township.
Johns told The Beacon that he’s been thinking about a fire district for about a year. “I think it’s the role of government to provide the best fire and EMS protection that people are willing to pay,” said Johns. He said the operating costs are “out-distancing” what people are willing to pay. “We have to try to find the most efficient way to provide services,” he said, adding that the best way to increase efficiency is for entities to work together.
He said via mutual aid, local fire departments, in essence, act like a district already. “Every day we function like one unit, but we don’t administrate like one unit,” said Johns.