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EMS/Fire contract still pending

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – They’re close, but no cigar quite yet.

Union Township Trustee President John Slater said an EMS/fire services contract between Union Township and the Village of Hebon has been rewritten and both sides are close to an agreement, but no one has signed on the dotted line.

“Sounds like things are very favorable,” said Slater during the trustees’ regular meeting Monday night. He believes Hebron Village Council members planned to approve the contract during its April 8 meeting, although he said he hadn’t read the most recent version yet.

For years, the Village of Hebron has contracted with the township for the Hebron Fire Department to provide fire/EMS services to the unincorporated portion of the township south of the CSX rail line that bisects the township. The sticking point on this year’s renewal is how to use the $200,000 and growing almost daily nest egg generated by EMS billing that began in July 2007. Hebron, which hasn’t spent the money, wants to use most of it for capital improvements for the fire department. Trustees want what they consider the township’s share, to go toward meeting its 60 percent share of the department’s operating expenses.

The trustees raised the issue months ago and Hebron Village Council agreed to extend the 2008 contract two months into 2009 to provide more time to resolve the issue. Previously, Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason said extending the contract beyond the two-month period is acceptable as long as the issue is resolved fairly quickly.

In other township news: • Canyon Road resident Arnold Smith said water from a drainage pipe near his home still isn’t soaking into the ground. It’s collecting near the end of the pipe and stagnating. The problem has existed since last year. “It’s a mess out there,” he said. The township road crew previously serviced the drainage pipe.

“We’ve fixed one problem and created another,” said Slater, adding he’d head back to the site with the road crew and try to solve the problem once and for all.

Arnold asked the township to mow the ditch since he’s in his 80s and unable to mow himself. Trustee Jack Justice said the township would mow the ditch as often as possible. “We don’t want you down in there,” said Justice to Arnold.

• The trustees plan to review and possibly approve amendments to the township zoning book during the May 4 trustees’ meeting. The hearing begins 8 p.m. and the regular meeting begins 7 p.m. They will hold a special meeting Friday evening to set the hearing date officially. The date could change.

• Slater said Wednesday that the township will pave roads and sections of roads within three township subdivisions – Old Farm Road, Fairmont, and Grande Pointe. He said the winter weather damaged the existing surfaces. Township crews will also apply crack sealing to several township roads.

• Buckeye Oil Producing representative Steve Sigles said his company wants to install more than 4,000 feet of natural gas line along Beaver Run Road. He said there are about 17 homes Beaver Run residents who could benefit from the natural gas lines, as well as several potential customers on Refugee Road.

“We’re fine with it,” said Slater Wednesday.

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