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Mayor wants to start an award program

BUCKEYE LAKE – There should be some formal recognition for those who help improve the Village of Buckeye Lake, said Mayor Rick Baker during Monday night’s Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting.

“We should give an award to people who have worked to beautify Buckeye Lake on their own, such as a mayoral award,” he said. Baker said he’d like to hear from council and community members regarding whom in Buckeye Lake Village would be eligible to receive such an award. He said he’d like to recognize those who lead by example. “When one person cleans up their house, others follow,” he said.

Baker said the first awards would probably be announced in November or December. “Whether it’s one award or 10,” he said. “It’s not necessarily for someone who spent a lot of money.”

Baker said there would be a number of ways to win the Mayor’s Award – he’s unsure if it will be a document or a trophy – and he hopes the next Buckeye Lake mayor will continue to present them annually. Baker is not running for another term; his term is up at the end of the year.

Resident Charlotte Basnett said community members in general need to volunteer to help village causes far more often. “I’m waiting for someone to step up and help John Sproat,” she said, adding that Sproat nearly single-handedly organizes the Buckeye Lake Fest every year. “It’s all John,” said Basnett. “We need a fest. Buckeye Lake’s won’t be a success without more volunteers.”

If folks can’t volunteer their time, they could at least volunteer some resources. “We’re still waiting for donations for Christmas lights. I think the residents need to come forth,” said Basnett, adding that the village should have an impressive display along Hebron Road during the holidays. “We need the help of everybody,” she said. Basnett said she’s disappointed in the lack of community support for Fire Prevention Week. She said the Buckeye Lake Fire Department could use more help and money to fund Fire Prevention Week activities and promote community involvement.

“But, people have plenty of time to scrutinize what people and volunteers are doing,” said Basnett. “What are the Buckeye Lake Fire Belles and what are they doing? Maybe Buckeye Lake needs fire balls, or something.” Anyway, “We don’t have enough volunteers,” she said.

The Fire Prevention Parade is Saturday, Oct. 5, beginning 1 p.m. Refreshments will be served at the firehouse following the parade.

Council members said the Buckeye Lake Fire Belles are not specifically associated with Buckeye Lake Village and the Buckeye Lake Fire Department does not accept money from the organization.

Former council member Donna Thompson said she’s concerned many village residents don’t have fire extinguishers in their homes. “A lot of people don’t even know where they can get them,” she said, suggesting that the fire department address this during Fire Prevention Week.

In other village news:

• Buckeye Lake Youth Association Director Jackie French said the association is once againsponsoring ‘Trunk or Treat’ – its alternative to door-to-door trick or treating. Local businesses and organizations will distribute treats from vehicle trunks from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, at the youth association, 140 West 3rd Street. The event is in addition to the village’s traditional neighborhood trick or treat event, which takes place at the same time.

• Council President Charlene Hayden said Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Karen Cookston, unbeknownst to her, learned that the Licking County Planning Commission believes she is the village’s floodplain administrator. Cookston is not. “She has no training or credentials to hold that title,” said Hayden. “Having that title could put her in a precarious position if we had handled something in the floodplain incorrectly.”

Hayden said Cookston supposed that a third-party FEMA administrator called the village offices, asking who should receive floodplain information. Since Cookston is the village’s planning and zoning chair, she was sent the information and suddenly became the floodplain administrator.

Hayden said the village should name an actual floodplain administrator before the county hosts meetings about floodplain administration at the end of October.

• Council member and mayoral candidate Clay Carroll explained why he favors maintaining the Buckeye Lake Fire Department over contracting for EMS services with Hebron.

“People aren’t telling all the aspects of going with Hebron for EMS,” he said. Hebron offered to contract with Buckeye Lake Village at a charge of $110,700 per year. Carroll said Hebron offered to put one additional person on first shift for Buckeye Lake. “They never committed to take over the whole thing,” he said.

Carroll added that the Hebron Village Council was clear that Hebron would have first priority over contractors. He said he understood that Hebron planned to make cuts to its department because Union Township, which contracts with Hebron for fire/EMS services, paid Hebron roughly $200,000 less for 2013 contract than it did for its previous contract. It didn’t make sense to him that Hebron would hire people for Buckeye Lake as part of a $110,000 contract when Hebron just lost $200,000 and planned to make cuts.

Carroll said any complaints about Buckeye Lake Fire Department runs account for roughly 10 percent of all of its runs. In other words, he said, the fire department has an approval rating of 90 percent, which would earn it an “A” if it were graded like school students. “We need to let people know these things,” said Carroll.

• Council member and mayoral candidate Jeryne Peterson clarified her position regarding the Buckeye Lake Fire Department’s future and an upcoming 5-mills Buckeye Lake fire levy on the Nov. 5 ballot. “I’m voting for the fire levy,” she said. If Peterson had an emergency, “I wouldn’t want anybody else to respond.”

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