The Vermilion Township Trustees met on Wednesday, Nov. 3.
Vermilion Township votes
From the audience, Malcolm Williams, who ran for township trustee, congratulated the winners of the Nov. 2 General Election, and said in looking at the votes, “There were more people who voted for trustee in our township than there were people who voted for mayor in the City of Vermilion.” He said obviously, the people of the township are concerned, “we’ve got them interested again in what the township’s doing, and I challenge all three of you trustees to not let that interest wane. Let’s keep our people interested in what we’re doing.”
Trustee-elect Rodger Scott thanked everyone for cleaning up their signs, saying the township looks nice. He asked Trustees Ron Dickel, Charles Trinter, and Carl Hill what they would be working on for the rest of the year. Dickel said the township had to do its “end of year stuff” where the township hires, sets wages, etc. “My point is, if there’s anything to do with any money, anybody getting any pay raises or anything, I would like for you guys to table it,” said Scott. “I don’t believe that, and I don’t have anything against with Charlie (Trinter), but the thing of it is, he’s going to be gone. He don’t have any skin in the game anymore. I’m the guy that’s going to be having to take up the slack. That’s my point.” Dickel said the township will do what it has to do and if he wants to change it, it can be changed. Scott said he wanted everything out in the open.
Trinter said he would suggest they take Scott’s suggestion. “I think I shouldn’t be involved in end of year decisions. I think Rodger should be involved in those,” he said. “That’s my point, Charlie. You’re a straight up man by coming out and saying that because most people have an agenda, and they want to finish it up for the people that voted for them and everything. And I think it’s the right thing to do and I appreciate you saying that.” Dickel said, “We’ve always done it that way.” Scott replied, “Just because we’ve always done things that way don’t mean that that’s the right way to do it.” Dickel said he was not saying it was the right way, but until Scott gets in officially, that’s how they’ve done it. “You can see where I’m coming from,” said Scott. “He can vote on anything, then I come along and the next four years, I’ve got to put up with it.” Dickel said, “We can always change it..it’s not wrote in stone.” Scott said, “You say that, but two out of three, you have to have two votes. I can get overruled.” Dickel said, “You have to have an open mind.” Scott said, “Sure. I just want to get it all out in the open.”
Scott also asked how to get more people involved in the township. “We need more people here. This is sort of an insult for me to come here and see this amount of people because I know everyone loves this community. It is a paradise. I love it. I want to live my last days here. But we’ve got to get people involved because we have to see how they want their community to look. How do we want out community to look?” Dickel said the township has open meetings. “Anybody can come,” he said. “We like to see people come because, like you say, we get ideas.” Responded Scott, “That’s what makes everything go ‘round.”
Building/zoning inspector Bob Baker reported on the following for October: eight zoning permits bringing in $613.30; and 25 building permits were purchased for a total valuation of $663,046, and $3,450 was added to the general fund. Baker added the township’s electrical inspector’s fees have not changed since 2006. He is presently being paid $50, and is proposing a $10 increase per inspection to rising costs of gas, etc. The commercial inspector makes $75 per inspection, but Baker said the electrical inspector would be happy with $60. Dickel said it is something the trustees will discuss during the next couple of meetings in talking about wage increases.
Chief Frank Triana reported that the department responded to 654 runs year to date (Oct. 31)
Truck 811 is back in service after repairs at L & M. He thanked L & M for staying after this to get the truck back in service as quickly as possible. 841 has a check engine light on (injector pressure control module) and is at Liberty Ford.
Triana thanked all those who attended the firefighters pancake breakfast Oct. 10. He said the turnout was great. He also reported on the Pat O’Brien Chevrolet truck or treat event that was all well attended. He said the firefighters, who passed out treats, enjoyed seeing all the kids dressed up.
Hindmarch Foundation donation
The chief was contacted a couple weeks ago by the Hindmarsh Foundation, and the Firefighters Association will be receiving a donation this year. This will purchase four portable LED scene lights, providing three levels of lighting. The lights are self-contained and can extend to 72” in height and are rechargeable. Two lights will be placed on each engine. The total cost of the project will be $2,748, and $248 will come from the fire budget. “We are humbled to receive such a gracious donation from the Hindmarsh Foundation and thank them for their continued support,” said Chief Triana.
Chief Triana asked trustees to approve the yearly honorarium for the firefighters for 2021, totaling $25,185, based on their individual point values accrued. Trustees approved the honorarium. Trustees are paying $15 per point. He said there are less points than prior years, but the dollar value is about the same.
Chief Triana said the fire department received a new dispatching contract with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. He explained the department still has the old contract, which would expire in 2026. He said the hope is that trustees will step away from the old contract and begin 2022 with the new one. The dispatch advisory board said with the major increase in run volume for the Vermilion Township Fire Department over the past few years (since the ambulance was started), it would advise that the newer contract be put in place. Triana said Vermilion Township runs a similar volume to that of Margaretta Township Fire Department, and the new contract places Vermilion Township in equal amount paid for services rendered. The chief said he supports fully what the contract stands for and supports the payment increase if the newer contract. “It’s a bit of a shock but it is fair value for all involved,” he said. Triana said the contract went from $1,419.63/year to $18,000/year.
Triana said trustees did not need to act on it that evening, and the township, for the last six/seven years, has been paying the minimal amount. “It’s time for us to step up to the plate and do what’s asked of us.” Dickel asked if the $1,400 the township paid at the beginning was just for fire, and Triana said at the time, the township had no EMS, which is the bulk of its runs. Triana said when he first came, the VTFD had 62 runs, then it jumped into the 90’s. “Each year, we’ve had a steady increase, and when we took over EMS in the middle of 2018, we really blossomed.” Triana said for the last 3-4 years, VTFD has been under the radar. “It’s a sign of the times. It’s fair value for what we do here,” he said.
Trustee Carl said Valley Ford has had the township’s 450, which was to be done that morning. Hill said when they rerouted the wiring for the plow lights, they heard the fan sucking in the wiring. He said as a result, the truck would be a day or so later.
Ditches on 60
In answer to Mr. Scott’s question last meeting about ditches being cleaned along SR 60, Dickel said they are starting on Mason then going north on the open ditches on the west side of the road. Dickel said ODOT had trouble with COVID, they haven’t had time to do it. Scott said there are people in that area that just want to know. Scott said they put the flags in people’s yards and leave them there, and when there are leaves it becomes an issue.
No links on township website
From the audience, Malcolm Williams asked why there are no links on the Vermilion Township website to hotels. He said if the township approves membership into the Vermilion Chamber, it should have links to their website to promote the township, especially since the township has the only hotel. Secretary Tina Karres said she knows the township is linked on Main Street but would check on the Chamber. Williams said it wouldn’t hurt and wouldn’t cost anything.
Sassafras resident Carol Richardson, a member of the cemetery committee, said she went out to Cuddeback after the last meeting to see what was being talked about, and noted there are two huge limbs that are directly over the new work done on the stones there. She said if one of those limbs came down, it would take out four tombstones. If the other one comes down, it would take out five. “It seems to me the trimming is necessary. It’s not going to kill a tree to cut a limb off,” she said, adding if the township can get it done for a reasonable price, “it would be a good idea.” Dickel said the limbs aren’t dead and said the limbs at the top could fall and create a problem as well. Richardson said the limbs in question have a lot of foliage on them that make them hang lower. “Working really hard on those darn stones, I’d hate to see them get broken,” said Richardson. She said she didn’t know what the issue was – money or labor. Trustee Hill said each of those limbs is 300-400 pounds. He said the higher branches are not as heavy. “We’ve got about $4,000 in those stones,” said Hill. “I think preventative maintenance is warranted.”
Later during a work session, Trustee-elect Scott asked how the township was getting away with that cemetery being unfenced. “They say there’s supposed to be a fence around it, but nobody’s every questioned us about that,” said Dickel. Hill said the township has to get the boundary straightened out first. Dickel said it has been like that forever.