BUCKEYE LAKE – It’s byebye, Big “O “ and hello, Local Waste Services. Monday night, Buckeye Lake Mayor Clay Carroll told council members trash hauler Big-O would make its final collection in the village on Monday, June 29, and collect its totes June 29 and 30. The village’s new trash hauler, Local Waste Services, will begin its contract July 1.
“Hopefully, everyone has been contacted by Local Waste Services,” Carroll said.
In February, Waste Management, Inc. notified the village it purchased the village’s current contractor – Big “O” Refuse LLC. The village had the option of simply continuing its Big “O” contract through Waste Management until it expired in 2017 or seeking bids for another contractor. Council members opted to seek bids from other companies.
Carroll said Local Waste Services monthly bill – $11.99 per month and $10.99 per month for seniors – should be less than what residents are paying now. Waste Management bid $12.25 per month and $11.25 per month for seniors.
In other village news:
• Council member Peggy Wells asked about the committee meeting that was to be held to discuss the monthly charges for the MARCS radios. She suggested that the radios stay in their boxes until Council has discussed the additional expenses. Carroll said he believed the radios had already been put in service. Wells responded if that’s the case, “You can’t spend money if it’s not appropriated.”
Previously, EF Johnson Technologies donated 20 portable MARCS radios – five went to the police department and the rest to the fire department. They are valued at $2,500 each; however, although the units themselves were free each radio costs $20 per month to use. This brings the village’s total number of MARCS radios to 30.
Wells said 30 radios with a $20 service charge per radio per month adds $600 to the village’s monthly expenses and $7,200 annually. “We simply cannot afford these added expenses to our budget for either department,” she said previously.
Buckeye Lake Fire Department Captain Dave Ruton said previously that MARCS radios “have become necessities” for police and fire departments and the village was “lucky” to receive the donated radios.
Carroll said Tuesday he agrees the MARCS radios are a necessity for the village, especially as the state moves forward with its plans to replace the 4.1 mile Buckeye Lake Dam. “While we like to keep council involved, this is operating expense,” he said. “The need for the MARCS radios is to make communication possible with other fire, police and emergency responders around the village. The recent dam issues made us aware that we could be lacking the ability to bring in off-duty police or fire personnel if there were a serious emergency like a dam breach or a tornado.”
Carroll said when a disaster occurs, public communications are one of the first things to fail or be overwhelmed with calls from people checking on loved ones and things of that nature. “Having the MARCS radios should provide the ability to communicate in such an event,” he said. “This is a vital role in getting emergency responders where they need to be should the occasion arise. We are looking into a couple of ways to discount or reduce the costs but getting this capability to provide safety in place is our largest concern.”
Wells also objected to the village accepting the donation without a council vote, especially when the donation increases costs. She said the council always voted whether to accept donations in the past and she believes the village should resume doing so.
• Council members agreed both Lakefest and the Friends of the Buckeye Lake Library’s 5K run/walk were successful last weekend. “I thought (Lakefest) was a great success,” Carroll said. He said the late John Sproat, who launched the Lakefest, would have been pleased.
The future of the Lakefest was in question when ODNR announced the lake would remain at low pool for at least five years as the dam is replaced, but council members agreed to continue with a scaled down version.
Council President Jeryne Peterson said the turnout for the 5K walk/run was impressive and roughly 25 people registered just before the race. “I was shocked at how many people came out to support this,” she said. “We all got a little soaked. I think it was a good weekend for the lake, despite raining on us.”
• Resident Charlotte Basnet asked why some village departments submit written status reports, or packets, to the village that are not read publicly. “Couldn’t there be a report during the (council) meeting? Are we not privileged to know what’s in the packet? I would be interested to see what they are doing,” she said.
Council Clerk Valerie Hans said anyone could make a public records request to view the information, and all council information is available at the village office.
Wells said the village parks and recreation, and the planning and zoning commissions don’t always give Hans a report to distribute to council.
Council member Kitty Zwissler asked if council could present a shortened version of the department reports. “I think it’s a legitimate request,” she said, adding the commissions should provide reports to council.
Carroll said the village stopped paying someone to take minutes during commission meetings and create reports. “We can keep working on it,” he said.
“We don’t disagree with you,” Peterson told Basnet. “We’d like to have better communication with the public.”
Council member Robert Masone suggested scanning the reports onto the village’s web site.
Peterson said the scanning would be “looked into.”