Financial considerations have led York and Pike townships to turn down further fire services from the City of Wauseon, the City Council was told Monday.
In his regular Council report, Fire Chief Rick Sluder said the townships last week formally opted out of renewing fire contracts with the city, effective Jan. 1. The townships will instead sign contracts with the Delta Community Fire Department.
Sluder said York and Pike townships were offered the same 2.5-mill rate for fire service that Dover and Clinton townships accepted from the city, an increase all townships contracted with Wauseon for fire service had been advised of since 2016.
“The more we talked to them, the less they responded,” he said of York and Pike townships. “They decided they didn’t want to ask their voters for a raise in their millage. I personally think it’s a dangerous decision on their part.”
City fire services have covered about 6.5 square miles of Pike Township and about 14-16 square miles of York Township.
City Council’s meeting began with Mayor Kathy Huner presenting outgoing Councilor Rick Frey with a commendation for his six-year service to the council. Frey begins a term as Clinton Township trustee in January.
In other business, Council approved a final draft of the city’s 2020 budget. The council’s Finance Committee met for 45 minutes Dec. 5 to discuss changes, additions, and deletions to the 53-page document before recommending its approval.
Council also approved the Personnel Committee’s recommendation for a two percent across-the-board annual increase for full-time non-union city employees. Additionally, two employees will receive a 0.5% merit raise, 16 employees a one percent merit raise, and 20 employees a 1.75% merit raise. The raises were conditional on their supervisors’ evaluations.
The committee also received approval to increase the city finance director’s credit limit to $10,000 in order to regularly pay BWC, Century Link, and Spectrum invoices. All other city departments received a credit limit of $2,500.
A Park Board recommendation was approved to place a sign for the Indian Hill Trail at the south side entrance to Homecoming Park.
Tree Commission member Rick Frey said both Jim Spiess and Kim Bowles will end their positions on the commission on Dec. 31. Replacements are being considered.
Frey said he would like to continue as a member-at-large following his transition from City Council member to township trustee.
In department reports:
• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said the first portion of the civil service test for an entry-level firefighter/medic/EMT was held over last weekend.
• Police Chief Keith Chittenden reported that the third annual Christmas for Kids of Fulton County event was successful. A total of 51 children from all seven county school districts participated.
Chittenden also noted that Sam Yoh, a Wauseon auxiliary police officer from 2016-17, was shot Dec. 13 while on duty with the Ozark, Ala., Police Department. Yoh remains in critical condition.
Wauseon Mayor Kathy Huner offered condolences, saying, “People just don’t know everything (police) face every day. “Small town, big town, it’s still rough when someone you know gets hurt.”
• Public Service Director Keith Torbet said city leaf pick-up ended Monday. He said citizens wanting to dispose of leaves can take them to a drop-off collection point between NAPA Auto Parts and Brett’s Towing on East Linfoot Street.
He said an erosion problem at a small city reservoir will cost about $200,000 to repair. Torbet said the reservoir is not in imminent danger of collapse but the city would like to be proactive in its repair.
And he said a risk management insurance company, Ohio Plan Insurance in Toledo, gave a free inspection of playground equipment in city parks. Some equipment was removed for repair, but the majority should be in good operating condition by spring.
Council members approved: an ordinance for annual appropriations for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2020; passing on emergency resolutions authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Dover Township for fire services; and authorizing the mayor to execute a utility and access easement at Wauseon Union Cemetery for a cell tower lease.
They also passed a resolution authorizing the city finance director to pay all bills to Dec. 31, 2019.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.