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Union Township Trustees create trash district

HEBRON – No toter, no contract! The Union Township Trustees unanimously approved a township trash district Monday night.

They don’t know who the exclusive residential trash hauler will be yet, only that the company would be required to provide trash containers, or toters, for free or at a very reduced rate to township residents who want them. Trustees have considered a trash district for a long time – whereby one hauler is contracted to serve the entire township – believing that it will reduce costs for township residents and reduce the truck traffic on township roads. Currently, at least four companies collect residential waste in the tonwship

“We won’t force (toters) on people who don’t want them,” said Slater Wednesday. But, he figures most people will. Trustees are trying to work a discount for those who don’t want the toters into the bid, but that hasn’t been finalized.

Regardless of the details, Slater said the township is “forging ahead” with the trash district. He said the goal is to ensure there’s only one month in billing overlap between residents’ former and new trash haulers if there’s any overlap at all.

Trustee President John Slater said the township would begin accepting hauler bids, to be opened May 17. Trustees plan for the new district to be effective July 1.

In other township news:

• Trustees prepared for a third round of negotiations coming Thursday night with the Village of Hebron over a fire and EMS contract. The township and village continue to haggle about what percentage of the Hebron Fire Department’s expenses the township should pay – currently 60 percent – and what should be done with the revenue being generated by EMS billing.

Village officials want all of it to go in a single fund to be used for capital improvements, but trustees have maintained that since they are paying 60 percent of the department’s expenses, then they are entitled to 60 percent of the EMS billing revenue to spend as they wish – namely applying it toward what they owe the village for fire and EMS service.

Hebron Mayor Clifford Mason said previously that giving the township 60 percent of EMS billing revenue was “unacceptable.”

“We need to reduce our obligation to expenses,” said Slater. He suggested offering Hebron 50 percent of the operational expenses, leaving the EMS billing revenue in a capital improvement fund, and selling the EMS equipment the township owns to Hebron.

Trustee Jesse Ours said he was very concerned about giving up ownership of the township EMS equipment, because then the township would have no “bargaining chip.” Without equipment ownership, he said, the township would have absolutely no negotiating power with Hebron in the future.

“We headed in all sorts of directions (Monday night),” said Slater Wednesday. But the bottom line from the trustees’ perspective is the EMS billing revenue must correlate with the amount of Hebron Fire Department expenses the township pays. Assuming the EMS revenue is used toward capital expenses, said Slater, the Hebron Fire Department is bound to participate in more mutual aid runs with other departments, causing more expenses. The township’s obligation to pay for operations will increase along with those expenses with no incentive from the EMS revenue. Simply put, things will become more expensive for the township as the department grows, he said, and there would be no EMS billing revenue available to the township to help offset those increased costs.

Slater was absolutely clear that the trustees have no intention of playing “hardball” with Hebron. “We’re about as far away from that as we can be,” he said. Slater said the township and village are involved in a negotiation, period. “There’s nothing new but the EMS billing,” he said. Slater said trustees were not involved in the original decision regarding EMS billing revenue’s use, and until an agreeable arrangement is reached for all parties, EMS billing revenue will continue to be an issue.

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