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Union Township isn’t interested in firedistrict

HEBRON- Union Township Trustee Jack Justice has no interest in a proposed firedistrict between Hebron and Union Township, based upon past experience.

“It irritates the living crap out of me that they put it on the table,” he said during Monday night’s trustees’ meeting. Justice referred to a Hebron Village Council combined committees meeting February 26 where trustees were invited to discuss the possibility of a firedistrict. Justice said he has “every ounce of data” from the last time a firedistrict was discussed. “A firedistrict will not work without Union Township support,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s killed.”

Currently, the township contracts with the villages of Hebron, Granville, and Buckeye Lake for fire/EMS service. Justice said he opposes a fire district because Union Township residents would pay more money for the same service they are receiving today. The last time a fire district was proposed, he said, Union Township residents were paying less than two mills for emergency services and he believed they would have needed to pay approximately fivemills to support a district at that time. Today, Union Township has two levies for a total of 3.3 mills and he assumes Union Township residents would need to pay far more than fivemills if a district were created now.

Also, he explained that Union Township pays 60 percent of the Hebron Fire Department’s expenses- -$500,466 for 2007; the Hebron Fire Department services 40 percent of Union Township. He understands that there is more township than village territory for the department to cover, but, “I don’t want to pay 80 percent for 40 percent service,” he said.

Trustee President John Slater said Monday night that he felt “blindsided” by the fire district proposal and he believes the village needs to findout if there’s support among its council members before proposing the idea to the township. “I haven’t gotten an answer to what their feeling is,” he said.

Hebron Village Administrator Mike McFarland said previously that he believes state legislators may cut local government funding as an incentive to end duplication of services at the local level. He noted there is duplication of service between the Hebron and Buckeye Lake firedepartments.

In other Union Township news:

+ The trustees are considering investing $85,963 into an existing township firetruck for upgrades and repair. They believe the vehicle can operate for another 15 to 20 years with the upgrades. They agreed to get a another price before committing to the refurbishment.

+ Justice said a Fairmont Addition resident said construction workerss are speeding through the neighborhood. Upon investigation, Justice found that the neighborhood’s 25 mph signs are illegal based on a 1997 resolution setting 35 mph limits in housing developments. The 25 mph signs will be replaced. “The 25 mph sign must come down,” said Justice. “It’s illegal!” He said the trustees will have a cruiser check the area.

+ Slater said the trustees were asked by the athletic boosters who take care of the field at Canal Park to donate nearly $2,000 worth of a “drying agent” necessary for the field. He said the trustees would like to help the community by doing so, but he needed to be sure there were no legal obstacles. “It makes sense to do it if the township can afford it,” said Justice.

+ The county approved a 50 percent weight reduction for Beaver Run and Refugee roads within Union Township. The trustees want the weight reduction on those roads to discourage heavy truck traffic.

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