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Eight seek to fill township trustee vacancy

JACKSONTOWN – Eight Licking Township residents have applied to serve the remaining 10 months of former Trustee Joe Cooper’s term.

Cooper resigned late last month after he closed on the sale of his home. He announced about two years ago that he and his wife planned to move to Tennessee once they sold their home.

Trustee President Joe Hart and Trustee Dave Miller have 30 days to select Cooper’s replacement. They set a February 14 deadline for resumes and letters of interest. Nine candidates met the deadline, but one candidate withdrew before Tuesday night’s meeting.

The eight remaining candidates with their addresses are:

• Former Trustee Ronald Acord, 46 Chowning St. SE;

• Zoning Board of Appeals member Richard L. Cash, 6883 White Chapel Road SE:

• Former Zoning Commission member Troy D. Dunlap PE, 233 Overdrive Road;

• Former Licking Township Fire Company Chief John D. Freas, 7076 National Road;

• James A. Green, 226 Wilshire Drive;

• John H. Holman, 8228 Licking Trails Road SE;

• Harold Mohr, 338 Harbor View Drive; and

• Scott A. Stemm, 4600 National Road SE

Trustees had originally planned to review the applications Tuesday night in an executive session, expecting to pare down the number who would be invited back for personal interviews at a special meeting set for Monday, Feb. 23.

Hart opened the discussion by thanking all the applicants for their interest. “This will be a difficult decision,” he said, noting that only one of the eight would be happy with their decision. He emphasized that affiliation with any political party would have no bearing on their decision. Candidates will not be asked about their political affiliation. Hart noted that one candidate asked to be interviewed Tuesday since he had a previous commitment next Monday.

Miller suggested that four candidates be interviewed Tuesday night and the rest next Monday. “I feel in all fairness that everyone at least be interviewed,” he explained. Hart was a bit concerned about changing their previously announced procedure. He suggested that all five candidates present have the option to be interviewed Tuesday. Hart also asked each candidate if they objected to the change in procedure. None did and all five present elected to be interviewed. Candidates were interviewed in alphabetical order – Acord, Cash, Freas, Green and Holman. The remaining three will be interviewed Monday night. Trustees spent about wo hours in executive session Tuesday night.

In other business Tuesday night, trustees unanimously approved an amended Certificate of Estimated Resources from the county auditor’s office. The township is now expected to receive $1,622,369.74 in taxes this year. Trustees turned around and approved an Annual Appropriation Resolution for the same amount.

Fire Chief Mike Wilson asked for approval to spend about $1,675 for dive/rescue equipment. Most of it – $1,300 – is for two dry rescue suits. The department has several wet suits, but the new suits will keep the wearer dry, even when immersed in water. The balance is for three additional lifejackets for the rescue boat. His request was unanimously approved.

Trustees also agreed to Wilson’s request to increase wages for part-time paid fire personnel by $0.50 per hour. That will increase the wage range from last year’s $10 – $12 per hour to $10.50 to $12.50 and increase costs about $3,500 per year.

Trustees also agreed to again participate in ODOT’s road salt contract. This year trustees agreed to purchase 200 tons which meant they had to buy at least 100 tons and no more than 300 tons. So far about 100 tons have been used to treat roads this winter and Miller plans to buy all 300 tons since this year’s price is relatively attractive at $55 per ton.

Next year the purchase range tightens. Buyers must purchase at least 80 percent, compared to 50 percent this year, of their order and no more than 120 percent, compared to 150 percent this year.

Miller suggested buying 250 tons next year which will commit the township to at least 200 tons. “I’d rather have too much,” he explained. “I’d like to keep 200 tons on hand.”

Trustees’ Feb. 23 special meeting is set for 7 p.m. at the Licking Township Fire Station No. 3 on Ohio 13. They will interview the remaining three candidates and then discuss all eight candidates in executive session. Trustees are expected to return to an open session and select Cooper’s replacement.

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