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Trustees continue to consider new facility

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustees want to meet with JBA Architects to discuss building a new township facility that would include a new fire station.

Trustee President Joe Hart said Tuesday that JBA hasn’t yet accepted the invitation so he’s uncertain when the meeting will take place.

Building a new facility “takes quite a long time to do,” Hart said, and he wants to be sure whatever the township comes up with that the trustees are being good stewards to Licking Township taxpayers. But, he would like to “get the project moving a bit,” and hopes JBA representatives can help the trustees understand the potential costs of building a new facility and the difference between what the trustees would like to build and what the township can afford to build.

“We need to consider a facility that puts all the equipment at one place,” Hart said, adding that the new facility is in its “preliminary feasibility study” phase. Currently, he said the township’s equipment is distributed through several buildings.

Previously, Trustee John Holman said trustees know they don’t want a new firehouse that would “only be a place to park trucks.” Holman said trustees would like to see a new firehouse include a community center; he said a new facility should offer a conference room for Scouts or other local organizations to meet whenever they like.

Funding for a new firehouse would not come from the threemill levy voters approved in November, which will support 24/7 fire and EMS staffing for the Licking Township Fire Company.

“I’d like to see a facility that entwines complete township operation, not just the fire department,” Hart said.

In other township news:

• Licking Township Fire Company Chief Mike Wilson told trustees he attended a final fire truck production meeting. “What that means is the truck’s ready to go into production through the FEMA grant,” he said. Wilson said he went over the specifications one last time before the new fire truck begins assembly sometime this month or early July.

Wilson expects the truck to be delivered to the township some time in October “if all goes well.”

The township will be responsible for paying $57,725 of the total purchase price of $319,630. A FEMA grant will cover the remaining $261,905.

Wilson said a truck committee worked diligently to price a new pump truck to fit the fire company’s needs. He said at first the committee was a little over zealous and proposed a $342,000 model, which was too expensive. “Now we need to get down to the basics – nuts and bolts,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the committee came back with a Rosenbauer fire engine on a 2017 Freightliner chassis. “We’re trying to keep the wheelbase short,” he said. “We want it for narrow, tighter driveways.”

Wilson said the design features an 1,800-gallon water tank, a 1,250-gallon per minute pump, a Cummins 300 horsepower diesel engine and an Allison 6-speed transmission. “It’s a basic truck,” he said. “I’m really happy with what they designed.”

Wilson said he secured a $275,000 FEMA grant for vehicle acquisition. The township must pay a five percent match on the grant (Wilson said FEMA places that amount at $13,095, even though technically it should be more), as well as the price of the truck above $275,000, which is $44,630.

• Wilson said in honor of Memorial Day, fire company members placed flags on the graves of all the deceased former fire company members they could locate.

• Hart said he’d like to honor a suggestion from Union Township Trustees to jointly recognize the Lakewood Lancers softball team, which won another state championship after defeating Keystone LaGrange in Akron last Saturday. Hart hopes the ceremony can be scheduled for the beginning of their June 20 meeting.

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