UNION TOWNSHIP – Union Township Trustees unanimously approved its one-year contract for fire service Monday night with the Village of Hebron after the village requested a minor change from a version of the contract the trustees previously approved.
“This’ll take care of our end of it,” said Trustee President John Slater. After trustees approved a version of the contract Nov. 19, Hebron officials wanted to add language requiring the trustees to begin discussing the terms of a 2014 contract within the first few months of next year.
Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason attended the trustees’ Monday night meeting and told trustees that council members have directed the solicitor to prepare a resolution authorizing approval of the contract after he broke a 3-3 tie vote.
“We have tentatively agreed to the contract,” he said. The resolution authorizing approval will be on the agenda for council’s Dec. 26 meeting.
Union Township offered $420,000 for 2013, even though the township is currently paying about $620,000 this year for fire and EMS services. Previously, Trustee Rick Black said the township has been dipping into its general fund to cover the cost of the current contract and there’s simply no general fund money left to use toward the next contract with Hebron.
Trustees said this time around the township can’t spend any more than the $505,631 per year its 1.8 mill and 1.5 mill fire levies generate. The township also pays $80,000 per year to the Granville Township Fire Department to serve the portion north of the railroad.
Black said there will be no reduction in services between the $420,000 and $620,000 contracts, but he isn’t sure if Hebron’s acceptance of the reduced price contract would set any sort of precedent allowing the township to continue to renew at that reduced price. “I have no idea what effect this will have,” he said. Black said simply put, the township didn’t have $650,000 to pay Hebron. “There’s nothing we could do,” he said.
In other township news:
• Slater said there are two old and damaged trees near the St. Peter & Paul Retreat Center which should be removed. “They’re really on the edge of the right of way,” he said. Slater said the township should ask for bids for removal. “I’ve talked with the seminary folks,” he said, and they agreed to the removal.
Black said he didn’t think the trees posed any immediate threat to anyone, but he believes they should be removed.
• Black said the surface of the new wider bridge on Canyon Road is smoother than it was and is passable, but it still won’t be completely repaved until spring. “Everybody still goes to the middle of it,” he said. “Old habits die hard.”
• Black said looking back on 2012, he believes trustees’ most significant events were negotiating the new fire contract with Hebron and taking steps to construct a new salt bin. The new 40’ by 60’ bin should be done by late winter.
“We spent an awful lot of time on that,” he said. “There was a lot of education involved.”
Black said the same applied to reaching on agreement with Hebron for emergency services. “That was another eye opener,” he said. Black said trustees will research options for emergency services beginning next year, including determining the value of the township’s fire equipment.