Council creates fire advisory board

By Drew Stambaugh -

Swanton Village Council voted last Monday to create a fire advisory board. The proposed intent is for the appointed members to advise Village officials on matters related to the Fire Division.

Village officials have been looking for ways to deal with the rising costs of fire protection, with Swanton fiscal officer Jennifer Harkey saying the fire fund “is not sustainable.”

A fire district has been discussed with other eastern Fulton County communities but an agreement has not been reached.

The Village is also interested in placing a fire levy on the ballot, but has delayed that until 2019.

Meetings between area communities continue, but the end result will likely be a major change in how the fire department is funded.

“I think that there’s a systemic change that needs to happen,” said Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle. “That could be a great thing.”

Part of the reason for an advisory board is to give Fulton and Swancreek townships some say when it comes to fire service in the area.

“It’s just a start,” said Mayor Ann Roth. “It’s just a way to say we value the partnership that we currently have. We want you to stay on board and we’re willing to make you part of an advisory process.”

The Village is currently waiting to hear from Swancreek and Fulton townships on whether they wish to pursue such a group, according to Hoelzle.

Village officials mentioned that Swanton Fire is the only one in the county without joint support, which has helped cause the financial concerns. They cited Metamora and Amboy Township, Wauseon and Clinton Township, and Archbold and German Township as examples. Swanton is not entirely in one township, as the other municipalities are.

Also at the meeting, council passed the third and final reading of an ordinance regulating parking in an industrial area of the village. Parking will be prohibited in the industrial zoned area bordered by Lincoln Avenue, Church Street, Hallett Avenue, and Zeiter Way from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Other business

• Former councilman Robert Dodson, who died Aug. 14, was recognized. The village recognition said, “Mr. Dodson was a former councilman who served in the 1980s and 1990s. Mr. Dodson’s kindness and knowledge enriched those who worked with him. The Village of Swanton extends its sincerest condolences to his family.”

• The Public Service Committee discussed the possibility of building a storage building on property the Village owns north of the reservoir on Waterville Swanton Road.

“There is a need for more storage of materials, supplies, vehicles, as well as record storage,” said Hoelzle. “Most of the buildings the Village currently owns are not suitable for additions and therefore the property on Waterville Swanton is being reviewed as a possible option.”

• Council passed two items related to the village’s next sewer separation project. An emergency ordinance was approved to enter into a contract for engineering with Jones & Henry Engineering. An emergency resolution was approved to allow the administrator to file an application to receive Ohio Public Works funding.

By Drew Stambaugh