2013-09-14 / News

Resident says fire call wasn’t taken seriously

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – Resident Judy Allen told the Buckeye Lake Village Council Monday night that she supports the village’s 5-mill fire levy renewal appearing on the November ballot, but a recent incident is making her question that support.

She said she had a recording of an 8:10 p.m. phone call on Sept. 4 that resident Bill Smith made about a trash fire. Allen gave council members a transcript of the conversation, which states: “This is Bill. I just went down to the fire department – I thought maybe you might want to document this – to report a fire that was (at) 172 Central. They are burning trash, and so on and so forth, and I said they either got the fence on fire and I’m afraid they’re going to burn Vickie’s garage down and she’s at work. And the response I got from the assistant fire chief was, ‘Well, I guess she won’t need a garage when she gets home, now, will she?’ That’s the response I got from the fire department. And, he said, well, why don’t you try the police department. And they sit down and picked up their coffee and that was it. And, as far as I know the fire is still burning. So, I thought you might want to document that.”

“With regards to Mr. Smith, I did not have a chance to discuss all the details with (Buckeye Lake Fire Department Captain) Dave Ruton as he wants to talk with the people at the firehouse who were involved in the situation,” said council president Charlene Hayden. “I do know that (Ruton) asked Mr. Smith if the fire was extinguished and he said that it was. So, if the fire was handled, I really don’t understand all the attention that was given to this particular run. However, we may learn more after (Ruton) talks with fire department personnel.”

In other council news:

• Council member Barry Herron was irritated Monday night with the number of resolutions and ordinances council is passing as an emergency, meaning council waives the requirement to read them at three separate meetings before taking a vote. As an emergency, a vote is taken at the first meeting it is presented. . Council passed both an ordinance and a resolution by emergency Monday night.

“It’s mismanagement,” said Herron. He believes administrators should be able to anticipate budget adjustments and other issues so their respective ordinances and resolutions can be read publicly three times in case community members have questions about them.

“This is how the auditor wanted us to do this,” said council member Jeryne Peterson. She said passing budget related resolutions and ordinances by emergency keeps the “paper trail” clear. “It’s not mismanagement,” she said. “We have bills that have to be paid. We can’t just decide to pay them later.”

Hayden said Fiscal Officer Mary Jennings is doing the best she can under the circumstances as she is trying to follow suggestions made as a result of Buckeye Lake’s most recent audit.

“We should be able anticipated expenses based on past bills,” said Herron. “I’m not fussing on anyone. It just grates on me.”

“As far as passing legislation as an emergency, I don’t get too fussy about it unless it is something that affects residents in a monetary way, or it has to do with something that creates a long term situation,” said Hayden in an email Tuesday. “Then, I think residents have a right to the time to learn more about the legislation and comment on it.” She said the majority of the emergency legislation was necessary to conduct day-to-day business. “Also, since (Jennings) is trying to make the improvements the auditor suggested in the last audit and make improvements the auditor’s office suggests as she discusses our various concerns, it is important for money to be put into the appropriate line items and be dispersed through appropriate line items.” Also, Hayden said the auditor stated that any transfer of money should be done by legislation so council knows what is happening in the various line items. “We want to keep the auditors happy and we want to pay our bills in a timely manner,” she said. “All council members will have the opportunity to work on the budget. So, hopefully, (Herron) will embrace that opportunity and give us a budget that will require minimum transfers. In my opinion, in this day and age, transactions occur very quickly and there are always going to be unexpected needs in any entity that is trying to do something. Also, our means of learning about what is going on in the world is much more available to residents than it was even 10 years ago. Therefore, I don’t see emergency legislation to be a bad thing except for what I mentioned (previously).”

• Director of Public Works Vaughn Klingler said Licking County’s Sept. 7 River Round Up helped clean several lake area waterways. “It was a long day,” he said.

According to a Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District press release, more than 175 Licking County citizens and staff from community organizations spent (Sept. 7) cleaning up trash along Licking County streams and rivers. Five separate clean ups were held in the communities of Newark, St. Louisville, Buckeye Lake, Hebron and Granville. More than 270 tires were collected and about 10 cubic yards of trash were hauled out from the water and riverbanks.

New for 2013 was a major effort to recycle as much trash as possible. The result was eight cubic yards of material that will be kept out of the landfill. An Ohio EPA grant helped fund the effort.

• Council members agreed that Trick-or-Treat would be on Thursday, Oct. 31, but a specific time has yet to be determined.

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