JACKSON CENTER — David Klopfenstein, chief of the Anna Rescue Squad presented a report to Jackson Center Village Council on the current status of the organization’s equipment and financial status Monday during the council meeting. Klopfenstein shared concerns about replacing aged equipment, the construction of a new centralized squad building in the future and the need to increase levy millage amounts to meet the financial needs that will arise from making much-needed improvements and expansion of services.
As it stands, Anna, Botkins and Jackson Center along with all residents of Dinsmore, Franklin, Jackson and Van Buren Townships receive emergency and rescue services from Anna Rescue. Anna Rescue provides the largest emergency coverage in Shelby County overseeing about 202 square miles. Klopfenstein indicated the squad’s growth has not kept up with the current requirements and it’s time to make the necessary changes to insure they can provide the best services available in times of emergency when lives are on the line.
“Our local population has grown substantially and all we want to do is get everyone on a level playing field,” said Klopfenstein, who then explained the current discrepancies. “As it stands some residents are paying a lot more than others for our services and our desire is to pass a replacement levy to bring all the villages and townships up to a one mil level. That’s only about $35 per $100,000 of real estate taxes per year. At present we have some like Dinsmore Townshio paying 0.7 mil or about $19 per year, but others like Van Buren at only 0.3 mil or less than $4 per year for the same services.
“And, while the population and demand for our services has grown, we have not made the necessary changes to keep up; we need to address several issues to insure we can provide adequate emergency services to our community.”
Klopfenstein said they currently have four rescue-squad units (ambulances).
“One is ‘nickel and diming us to death’ and must be replaced very soon,” he said.
He said tentative plans call for first bringing their equipment up to good standing which will take approximately three years.
“And then we’ll look at choosing a location for constructing a new centralized squad building to better serve the area,” Klopfenstein said, saying the squad had 46 runs as of the end of April and trends indicate they will be well over 200 by the end of the year.
Klopfenstein thanked the JC council members for their support and also commended Airstream Inc. for training and maintaining a rescue staff on the premises that works closely with the Anna squad and can assist in emergency situations in the area if required to do so.
JC Mayor Scott Klopfenstein asked for confirmation regarding when the proposed levy needed to be on the ballot and Dave Klopfenstein said this coming November noting improvements are pending until the passage of the levies.
“We are currently working very hard planning for the future and how we can make every dollar count, our services are something people hope they never have to have but when their life or the lives of their loved ones are one the line, the cost of a levy is a small price to pay to better the chances of surviving an emergency situation,” Dave Klopfenstein said.
There were no prescheduled or old business issues on the agenda and the only new business centered on a report from Village Administrator Bruce Metz and conversations regarding how things were going on a variety of projects. Metz said due to better weather conditions the list of ongoing projects around the village had grown substantially.
“Things are very busy at present but lots of progress has been made since the last council meeting. The flag pole is up at the new Tee-ball fields and the bleachers will be in place very soon. The lighting project in the Westwood subdivision should be finished by June and a top-coat applied to all the new streets. The sanitary line to Airstream is well underway, and plans are moving forward for the intersection at the new plant. Plans for the swimming pool renovation are underway and on track and the project will go to bid soon,” Metz said.
Metz reported there was a problem with the new transformer being installed on Jerry Drive and it had to be sent out for inspection to determine what the nature of the problem is. He also said speed bumps are being installed at Tiger Trail Park because of complaints of cars driving too fast and being a threat to pedestrians and children playing in the park.
“People are just driving too fast out there and we hate to put in speed bumps but unfortunately we can’t have our police department on patrol out there all the time so for now it seems like the best way to address the problem,” Metz said.
Metz reported on a number of other ongoing projects and plans for the summer and observed that thus far things are going quite well overall.
The nextcouncil meeting wil be June 10, 2019. There will be no meeting on the four Monday of May as it falls on Memorial Day.
The writer is a regular contributor for the Sidney Daily News.