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Hebron to propose revised fire/EMS contract

UNION TOWNSHIP – Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason said the Village of Hebron plans to present a contract to the Union Township Trustees for fire and EMS services Oct. 18. He said Tuesday that based on trustees’ comments from their first meeting with the village, “We’ve redrafted a contract to reflect what they told us.”

A two-year contract for fire and EMS service to the unincorporated portions of the township south of the Columbus & Ohio River railroad expires at the end of this year. Currently, Union Township pays 60 percent of the Hebron department’s operating expenses, while the township receives 100 percent of the net revenue from EMS billing from patient transports in the contract area. The township uses some of that revenue to offset its payments to Hebron.

Mason said he was told that township officials do not anticipate having any more money to offer Hebron for services beyond what the township’s two fire levies generate, less the $80,000 a year the township is paying to the Granville Township Fire Department to cover the area north of the railroad.

Mason said the township’s offer was roughly $420,000 per year, although currently the township is paying roughly $650,000 per year for fire and EMS services.

Mason said Hebron officials plan to sit down with township representatives and say, “Here’s our proposal.”

Union Township Trustee Rick Black said trustees planned to meet with Hebron an hour before the trustees’ next meeting Oct. 15, but Mason said village officials’ meeting schedules wouldn’t allow it.

Black said previously that the township has been dipping into its general fund to cover the existing $650,000 contract and there’s simply no general fund money left to use toward the next contract with Hebron. Black said general fund money can be used toward fire and EMS service, but, “It shouldn’t be.”

He said the former township fiscal officer led trustees to believe the township had more money than it did, and if trustees were aware that general fund money would be used toward the existing contract, they may not have agreed to it.

Black added that the township has lost more than $100,000 in state reimbursement funds.

In other township news:

• Black said trustees have no choice but to send plans for a new salt bin out for bid. “We can’t get it under $50,000,” he said, requiring it to be bid. An architect must create a design before it can go out to bid. “We’re struggling with this,” said Black. He said previously that the bin may cost upwards of $70,000.

• ODNR spokesperson Matt Eiselstein said there will be a meeting Oct. 30, 5 p.m. at the Hebron Municipal Complex for property owners affected by the South Fork Licking River Channel Improvement Project. “This isessentiallyaQandAbefore project construction begins in November,” he said.

The long delayed project will return conditions in the Ohio 79/ Ohio 360 area to those existing prior to the construction of the Seller’s Point spillway. The spillway addressed flooding problems along the South Bank but the additional water flowing out of Buckeye Lake into the South Fork of the Licking River aggravated flooding in the Ohio 360/Buckeye Lake Village area where the South Fork loops as it turns north toward Newark.

Approximately 3.3 miles of the South Fork will be widened, significantly increasing its carrying capacity during storm events. Its additional capacity has been designed to offset the additional flow over the spillway from Buckeye Lake. Channel widening begins at the Seller’s Point Spillway Outlet and extends north to the Ohio 79 bridge north of I-70. Work is to be done by Dec. 31, 2013.

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