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Trustees present firecontract to village

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT – Walnut Township Trustees didn’t want to talk about a firecontract with the Village of Millersport at their Tuesday night meeting. The agenda stated there would be no discussion of the firecontract.

True to their word, trustees unanimously approved the contract without comment or discussion and signed it. Millersport officials got their first look at the contract when a copy was handed to council member Dave Levacy in the audience.

A little more information emerged when trustees approved a $20,000 appropriation for outside legal counsel. Trustees are using outside legal help on the Millersport and the Thurston firecontracts plus a road issue at FairfieldBeach. “The prosecutor never gets anything done on time,” Trustee President Ralph Zollinger explained. The township is using Doug Suter with the Columbus law firmof Isacc, Brant, Leman & Teetor. A contract with the Village of Thurston for a 50:50 ownership of the Thurston-Walnut Township Fire Department is still being drafted.

A quick review by Levacy and Millersport Fire Chief Bill Yates after the meeting turned up several changes that the village will likely seek before signing it. Most troubling to them is a provision requiring that, “All emergency medical calls within Walnut Township, Ohio boundaries shall be made from dispatch of the emergency call to the scene as expeditiously as possible and within eight (8) minutes or under, unless reasonable justification exists to the contrary in the sole discretion of Walnut Township.”

Both Levacy and Yates said a specific time limit shouldn’t be part of a contract for a number of reasons including road and weather conditions, the possibility of being tied up on another run and for liability reasons. There are also some more technical issues such as using an EMT designation no longer in use and referring to “designated fire levy income” that isn’t definedor designated anywhere in the contract. The contract grants Millersport 65 percent of the “designated firelevy income.” The contract also changes the notice requirements in the existing contract from 90 to 60 days for either party to terminate the contract. Typically notification requirements for termination are increased as contracts become larger and more complex.

T h e c o n t r a c t r e q u i r e s Millersport to staff the FairfieldBeach substation with a twoperson crew ten hours a day, seven days a week during “peak hours determined by discussions with FairfieldBeach residents and from review of prior emergency runs to FairfieldBeach, Ohio.” Millersport must also provide by the 15th of each month the firefund ledger/journal and firefund appropriation status reports to the township.

During public comments, Millersport council safety committee chair Gary Matheny thanked trustees for signing the contract. He added that reading the minutes of Thurston Village Council’s special meeting makes it sound that there are some hard feelings. “This contract shouldn’t have put any riffs between us,” he said. “If you have a problem, just call. The communication lines need to be opened up.”

“I agree with you 100 percent,” Trustee Sonny Dupler said. He later objected to a sentence in Thurston’s minutes about Millersport’s Medic 631 that was included in last week’s Beacon story. Dupler said he had asked earlier what Millersport was going to do with an older medic when the village received its new medic. “The whole theory is working together,” he said. “I can’t give it away. We don’t own it.” Dupler also set another firecommittee meeting for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7 at the township office.

Trustees also learned that the FairfieldCounty Sheriff’s Officewill open a substation at the FairfieldBeach Fire Station. The substation will not be regularly manned, but will be a place for deputies to stop for a bath room break and to meet with complainants, witnesses and others. The grand opening will be from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28. The public is invited.

In other business Tuesday night, Billy Phillips agreed to be reappointed as the township’s firemarshall. Fiscal officerPauline Ety reported the township’s recycling program recovered 88 tons for reuse last year. Sales raised $4,648 for Millersport Lions Club that provides much of the labor for the program.

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