The Sylvania Township Fire Department has entered into a contract to purchase a new fire engine from the Sutphin Corp., which is based in the Columbus area, for about $505,000.
Fire Chief Jeff Kowalski had been authorized by township trustees to purchase a new engine for the department for up to $545,000. Chief Kowalski said Sutphin was the low bidder on the contract.
He said some of the specifications on the vehicle were ordered after he met with a committee which included an officer and two firefighters to determine local needs.
"Most of those have to do with compartments of firefighting equipment and for life squad gear," he said.
Representatives of the department will meet with Sutphin early next year to finalize details and the chief said the new truck should be delivered around September. He noted that equipment purchase was one of the things promised in the campaign for the request last year for a fire levy and again thanked voters for its passage.
Sylvania Township is seeking applications to fill vacancies for expiring appointments to the township zoning commission, the board of zoning appeals and the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District.
There will be one vacancy on the board of zoning appeals for a five-year term. The one-year appointment to an alternate position will also be open.
The zoning commission will have two vacancies, one for a five-year appointment and another one for a two-year term. The one-year alternate position on the commission will also be open.
Both are five-member bodies.
The board position on SAJRD is for three years.
All appointments will be made by the Sylvania Township trustees.
Sylvania Township Police Earn Grants
Sylvania Township police chief Robert Boehme told township trustees, at a recent meeting, that the department had been awarded more than $30,000 in grant money for enforcement of traffic laws.
One of the grants is for a selective enforcement program concentrating on seat belt use and child seat restraints, as well as speeding violations. That grant is for $13,362.
The other grant, which is for $17,177, is to be used primarily for enforcement of impaired driving laws. Chief Boehme noted that many of the township arrests for drunk driving occur on Central Avenue and that the grant money will likely be used to increase enforcement along that roadway.
The grants are federally funded through the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Conditional Use Permit Denied
A request for a conditional use permit to develop a 40-acre site on Herr Road for the development of a number of buildings by the Toledo Muslim Community Center has been turned down by the Sylvania Township Board of Zoning Appeals.
The board heard from a number of residents of the area who said they were worried about traffic problems, but mostly spoke of the high-water conditions the area already suffers and the effect of building and paving the 40 acres on the east side of Herr between Sylvania and Central avenues.
A drawing of the proposed center includes a mosque, community center, swimming pool, a school and basketball and tennis courts.
The drawings were considered not to be sufficiently specific, as an engineer site plan would be.
The group (Tom Helberg, chairman of the board) also said that it was not only the lack of a more detailed site plan, but that other issues which had been raised had also not been addressed.
After a private meeting between board members Mr. Helberg offered to allow the group to withdraw the current application and return at a later date, but he said that offer was declined. The five-member board then voted to not grant the conditional use permit.
Two township elected officials were re-elected to their current positions in the November balloting.
Neal Mahoney, chairman of the Sylvania Township trustees and David Simko, township fiscal officer, both offered thanks to township voters for their election to new four-year terms.
Neither was opposed in the election but they said, in a way they were more thankful for those who supported them at the ballot box knowing their vote was not crucial to the outcome.
Though unopposed, the election was not without some drama. Both candidates names were left off ballots in some precinct polling places, in the city of Sylvania. Had either candidate had an opponent the issue would have had a serious impact. As it was, once the Lucas County Board of Elections was told of the issue, they made new cards including the candidates names and installed them in the voting machines.
Mr. Mahoney was conciliatory, noting that humans make mistakes and the best thing to do is learn from the error so it does not happen again. Mr. Simko took the same position. He said the board of elections should look into the issue to determine how to guard against a similar instance in the future.
Fiscal Officer Suggests Refinancing Bonds.
Sylvania Township fiscal officer, David Simko told trustees at their most recent meeting that it is likely the township can save some money if they refinance bonds which were issued for fire station construction.
He said the bonds run until 2030 and at a refinanced rate, the township could save a total of about $180,000. That savings, he said, would include adjusting for any costs incurred in refinancing. Mr. Simko noted that it would mean about $12,000 annually.
John Crandall, a trustee, said he would like to see the savings earmarked specifically for the fire department. He asked Mr. Simko to meet with the fire chief to determine where the funds could best be applied.
Mr. Simko said he was not yet prepared to ask for a resolution from the trustees, "but the decision will ultimately be up to you. I just wanted to let you know what is likely coming."
At the three-quarters point in the fiscal year, Sylvania Township is in good shape and operating well within its budget, Dave Simko, fiscal officer, reported at a recent meeting of the Sylvania Township trustees.
Mr. Simko noted that the achievement is all the more notable because the administration doesn't set a standard that is easy to beat when budgets are established.
He said if department heads can convince the administration that some costs or items are necessary, "we'll allow for what's needed, but we're very careful.''
Mr. Simko noted that at the end of September it would be reasonable to expect that each department would have gone through 75 percent of scheduled expenditures.
He pointed out that there is little the township can do about revenue, but the key to a balanced budget is spending the money that does come in.
In his report, the general fund is listed as having spent 70,2 percent of its budget, the road and bridge fund had only gone through 44.2 percent of its budget, the police fund was at 70,6 percent and the fire fund was also at 70.6 percent.
Mr. Simko credited what he said is a cooperative attitude through all levels of Sylvania Township government.
He said he goes to statewide conferences and hears from other township fiscal officers about the battles involving top administration, department heads and employees.
Those groups in Sylvania Township, he said, try to recognize spending limitations and come together to prioritize how the funds are best spent.
There is a cooperative attitude here and I think everyone involved should be congratulated.
Sylvania Township trustees have authorized Fire Chief Jeffrey Kowalski to hire three full-time firefighters. The hiring will bring the department up to a strength of 58 full-time firefighters. including officers.
There is also a training captain on the force.
He was also authorized to have a roster of 8 part-time firefighters.The chief said he is comfortable with the numbers.
The chief noted that part-time firefighters are primarily used to augment the full-time force. He said that if there were more, it would be difficult to give each member sufficient time for it to be worth the time of the part-time firefighters.
Chief Kowalski also mentioned that trustees, at an earlier meeting, had given him permission to purchase a fire truck.
He noted that these actions have been made possible by the passage last year of a fire levy. He said he wanted to again thank the voters in the fire district for their support and that the positive actions by the trustees will allow his department "to continue to provide the excellent service our community is used to and deserves."
The Sylvania Township Fire Department has received approval from the township trustees to take steps required before it can begin to transport patients when no private service is available.
Officials have made it clear that the department does not intend to supplant private ambulance service, but when none are available to transport a patient, the department will.
According to the resolution passed by the trustees, department personnel believe that having transportation available will "allow improved continuity of care for the fire department's patients and will allow a faster return to servicei time for the fire department's first responding units."
The resolution authorizes the fire chief to apply for any permits, licenses and equipment necessary to establish a transport unit.
He is also to begin the process of applying for Medicare/Medicade authorization "through ther billing copany he deems most appropriate."
All American Coach has received a variance from the Sylvania Township board of zoning appeals to allow for a 6-ft. fence topped with barbed wire to enclose two lots at the intersection of Argonne Place and Archer Drive directly east of the business.
James McGuire, president of the recreational vehicle dealership, said he intends to store excess inventory on the property and the fence is needed to deter thieves, vandals, or anyone else not authorized from entering the property.
He told members of the board that although there haven't been many problems in the last 18 months, there significant issues 4 to 5 years ago.
He said people would enter the business property and steal television sets from the vehicles. He said the damage caused was significantly greater than the cost of the television.
There was some discussion about the use of some material other than a chain-link fence, but Mr. McGuire said chain-link was the best product because it keeps the ground visible.
He said the Sylvania Township police "are constantly driving around looking" for intruders.
The township zoning ordinance restricts the height of a fence in the company's zoning area to 3.5'. Mr. McGuire's request for a variance was for a fence of 6', with barbed wire strung along the top.
Daryl Graus, township zoning and planning manager, said company had been granted a similar variance in 2013 for a portion of the company's property along Whiteford Road.
The board voted unanimously to grant the variance.
Sylvania Township trustees, during an organizational session at their most recent meeting, decided to change the starting time of meetings to be held the first Tuesday of each month.
The first-Tuesday meeting will now have a starting time of 5 p.m., one hour later than that meeting was held last year.
John Jennewine, trustee, said some people had suggested to him that more citizens might be able to attend if the starting time was moved back from 4 p.m.
The other regularly scheduled meeting of the trustees will continue to be held at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month.
Sylvania Township has launched an alert system which will allow for a message to be sent to a residents phone and/or email address when Lucas County or the township issue notice of an emergency, such as a tornado warning.
Those who choose to can add features such as reminders of township public meetings, planned road closures and other things of significance to local residents.
Sylvania Township is offering the service for free, although some message fees may apply.
To obtain the service, a resident should go to www.sylvaniatownship.com. On the home page there is a link which will take you to the form to sign up for the service. Then just fill out the application and click "sign up now" at the bottom of the page.
When police and fire departments are faced with emergency situations one of their problems is dealing with members of the public who have unexpectedly arrived at the scene. Just trying to manage traffic and control crowds becomes a job in itself. With the alert system, people on their way to a destination can be warned that there is a problem at a given site and will be able to drive around the area. They will not have as much inconvenience and safety forces will be able to concentrate on the issue to which they responded.
Of a more benign nature, a resident may be following an issue in the township and can receive a reminder of the next public meeting dealing with the issue.
By signing up for Sylvania Alerts you will automatically get emergency alerts issued by the Lucas County and can choose from a number of options for alerts offered by the township.
The service was earlier approved by Sylvania Township trustees and has been purchased by the Lucas County Emergency Management Agency. To participate, the township has agreed to pay no more than $2,500 annually. That cost could be reduced if enough other jurisdictions join the service.
Township officials said none of those who sign up will receive unsolicited calls nor will contact numbers be sold to other parties.
Township residents who sign up for the program may also choose to be notified of such things as the annual leaf and brush pick up and other events of general interest.
Use the form on the Home Page to sign up.