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Gabriel proposes approving Millersport fire contract

MILLERSPORT – “I propsed to accept the contract given to us with the changes that council (Millersport) had agreed to,” Walnut Township Trustee told The Beacon

His motion at Tuesday night’s trustees’ meeting was greeted with silence. “There was silence for what seemed like two minutes,” he said. Gabriel’s motion died for a lack of a second.

The proposal would staff all three stations – Fairfield Beach, Millersport and Thurston – with two EMTs/paramedics around the clock, seven days a week. Thurston currently has three on duty from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but only two are required to make a medic run. Millersport has two on-duty 24/7, while Fairfield Beach would move from two on-duty 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily to two 24/7.

Gabriel presented his calculations that are based on a cost of $12 per hour for each on-duty person. Staffing would cost about $631,000 a year, leaving some $300,000 to operate the three stations. Millersport, which also operates Fairfield Beach, would get 64 percent of the township’s fire levy receipts with Thurston getting 34 percent. The remaining two percent would be reserved for the ombudsman and special needs.

Gabriel wants ombudsman Billy Phillips to meet with Fire Chiefs Jim Hite and Bill Yates to get the run cards updated. The cards tell emergency dispatchers what departments and pieces of equipment, and in what order should be sent to a wide variety of emergency calls. He wants to be sure that the cards maximize resources and minimize response times.

Gabriel said fellow trustees Sonny Dupler and Ralph Zollinger said little during his presentation. Hite presented his budget Tuesday night and both wanted to review it. “I wanted to discuss it last night,” Gabriel said.

“I’m trying to do what’s right for the people and I’m the odd man out,” he added.

Fairfield Beach and Thurston voters were reminded that their voting locations have been shifted to the American Legion Hall on Canal Drive in Millersport. Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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