By Karen Cornelius
The Vermilion Township trustees met on Wednesday, August 1, at the township’s office on State Route 60. All the trustees were present, Charles Trinter, Ronald Dickel, and Christopher Decker along with Brenda Zsebik, fiscal officer; Robert Kurtz, building official/zoning administrator; Frank Triana, Vermilion Township fire chief; and Tina Karres, township secretary. The following are briefs from the minutes of the meeting:
Audience participation/gypsy moth problem: Mason Road resident Allan Thomas discussed a concern on behalf of several other residents about the Gypsy Moth species that has moved into the area and is destroying healthy trees. He explained that this species starts in a caterpillar stage, feeding on the leaves of trees and shrubs, then to the pupae stage and finally the adult moth stage wich lays eggs on the trees with one egg sack producing about 1,000 caterpillars. They defoliate the trees and shrubs until they die. He said they are causing serious damage in a very short period of time. He contacted the Ohio Department of Agriculture which had the area inspected and advised residents to organize with neighbors to submit an application for a suppression treatment next spring. The deadline for application is September 1, 2018. He said they are willing to spray the area if there are 50 acres or more. Another neighbor stated he had 4 or 5 trees sprayed himself for $300. Other neighbors explained this is their third year of infestation and this moth can travel about 10 miles per year. Residents fear this could affect property values. They asked the trustees to be a liaison between the residents and the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The board agreed they would help in any way they can to get the state department involved and possibly see if there is any type of funding available for this problem. The board also asked to get the word out and get as many residents together as possible.
Zoning/building permits/new building: Building official Kurtz reported for July the Zoning Department issued 3 zoning permits with a total fee collection of $357.05. The building department issued 19 permits with a total fee collection of $2,605 and total valuation of work being done at $319,736.
He also gave an update on the hew building where Star Builders will be starting the footers and foundation in August. The steel supplier has given them a shipping date of September 3. The building will be ready to erect with an estimated four weeks for completion.
Fire department update/EMS start: Fire chief Triana reported the fire runs between July 18 and July 31. He said there were 6 EMS assists; 1 fuel spill; 1 MVA; and 1 residential alarm with a year-to-date of 249 runs. The chief stated he had the apparatus inspection reports from Finley Fire Equipment and was pleased there were only small items to correct. He thanked the firefighters for their diligence with their truck checks and spotting these small items before they became large problems. They are to be commended. Ladder and hose testing are also complete with Waterway, Inc. on station, Friday, July 20, testing all fire hose and ladders. There were no issues with the ladders and only one 50-foot section of hose removed from service. They do have spare hose in-house to replace it. The firefighters additionally participated in Erie County Fair duty on August 10. They further hosted an open house on August 19.
The fire chief announced that tentatively, the township fire department will begin transporting EMS on Sunday, August 19.
The fire chief added that the Erie County Fire Chiefs met on August 18 with a representative from the BWC. They will begin auditing fire departments through the county in the future. The goal is to get firehouses in order, make strides to be compliant, and to keep firefighters safe.
The fire chief announced, too, that he has added one more personnel to the fire roster. It is Steven Evans who obtained his Fire Card Level 1 and his EMT-B certifications. Upon receiving his EMS card from the state, a pager and gear will be issued to him. Another announcement, the firefighters will host a car wash at the station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on September 9.
The chief continued that he has provided the board with the part-time firefighter policies, and he asked that the board of trustees add these to the Vermilion Township Personnel Policies and Procedures Handbook as an addendum. The policies are available at all times for firefighters in the dispatch and chief’s office. Under new business, the trustees voted to include the Vermilion Township Fire Department Part-time Firefighters policies into the employee handbook.
Old business/bermer purchase: Under old business, fire chief Triana reported that most of the part-time personnel have completed their employment packets and have gone over policies. Breathing Air Systems completed its semi-annual breathing air compressor, the tanks, and the unit. The department has had a very busy month and is moving forward with transport.
Building official Kurtz gave the board information on purchasing a “Bermer” at a total cost of $7,314.64 from Concord Road Equipment Manufacturing. He said it will take one to two hours of labor to re-install. The purchase will be a better alternative than trying to use the salt spreader. The board passed a motion to purchase a berming/cross conveyor 960 series at $7,314.64 which includes installation.
New business/shirts/Chicken Bill: Fire chief Triana informed the board a new duty shirt was purchased by the Firefighters Association for the firefighters to maintain a neat, professional appearance while being out in public and for special functions, holidays, station tours, and inspections.
Official Kurtz discussed an email received from Tim King, planner, Erie Regional Planning Commission, and a follow-up from Dan Frederick regarding the proposed “Chicken Bill” or House Bill 175 which would allow an owner of residential property to keep, harbor, breed, or maintain small livestock on the property, and to prohibit zoning from regulating certain agricultural activities conducted on residential property for noncommercial purposes. They are asking the board for their thoughts on the subject. The Ohio Township Association (OTA) which represents 1,308 townships as well as many others are not in favor of the bill.
Trustee Dickel stated that he was not in favor of House Bill 175. There were problems with this in the past. Trustee Trinter agreed that he would like our present zoning controlled. Trustee Decker agreed. There was a motion passed by the board to authorize a letter to Mr. King and the OTA expressing opposition to this bill on behalf of Vermilion Township.
Zoning Commission Board/new appointment: Under new business, Kurtz stated that a letter was received from Justin Plas announcing his resignation as a member of the Zoning Commission Board. A motion was passed to accept the resignation. A letter from Laraine Bailey, secretary of the Vermilion Township Zoning Commission, recommended the appointment of Mr. Robert Joslyn as a member. The trustees passed another motion to accept this appointment.
Sassafras Drive concrete repair: Under new business, Kurtz acquired two estimates for repairing the concrete on Sassafras Drive. Abraham Miller, Inc. had an estimate of $27,900 to repair 2,690 square feet of concrete and Heerk Excavating, Inc. had an estimate of $26,800. He said the Road Crew found an additional spot to repair concrete around catch basin so Herk was asked to submit a price to include the additional spot. The total then would be an additional $500 or $27,300. The board passed a motion to award the contract to Herk Excavating.