Council hears update on townships EMS/fire contracts

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council received an update, Monday night, on fire and EMS contracts with surrounding townships for 2018.

Brad Jones, chief of the Sidney Fire Department, told council contract amounts to be paid by the township are Clinton: EMS, $26,369, and fire, $36,176; Orange: EMS, $7,198, and fire, $9,993; Franklin: fire, $9,417; Washington, EMS, $1.

The dollar values reflect a 3 percent increase over the 2017 contracts (except for Washington Township). In Washington Township, Sidney covers a section of Interstate 75 that is less than a mile long, Jones said. The only access to the section in Shelby County is from Sidney.

Jones also explained the mutual-aid agreements Sidney has with other departments, which are separate from the township fire/EMS contracts. He said other departments provide services when needed at emergencies and Sidney does the same for other departments. No payments are involved for mutual aid.

Council member Darryl Thurber asked Jones how difficult it would be to determine the amount of the over 300 calls the fire department responded to in Clinton Township were from the most northern most part of the township. Jones said it would not be difficult to obtain and will bring back the percentage of those calls from that area at the next council meeting.

Council member Joe Ratermann asked why Clinton Township has about nine times more responses than Orange Township but its expenses are only about four times more than Orange Township’s. Ratermann said it seems like the amount of responses would be roughly equal to the amount of costs. Jones apologized for not having that information with him, and was not sure of the answer, but said the original contract with the townships was based upon a reimbursement percentage where the department would be reimbursed a certain amount for responding.

A resolution on the contracts will be consider by council at its Oct. 23 meeting.

Council was introduced to two ordinances, one for the codification of ordinances passed over the last year to be put in the proper sequence in the City Code Book. The other was to amend the traffic control map regarding handicap parking spaces at Holy Angels Catholic Church.

Due to the handicap ramp being on the west side of the building, Holy Angels is requesting to relocate four of the six handicap spaces on South Main Avenue to Water Street. They also are requesting for a 20-foot open space in the center of the four spots on Water Street, with two handicap parking spots on each side. These spaces would be designated as handicap parking on Saturday between 5 to 7 p.m., and Sunday through Friday between 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The ordinance will return for a second reading at the Oct. 23 meeting.

Council also adopted two resolutions. One was to oppose the passage of House Bill 267. This bill, if passed, will eliminate municipalities’ limited immunity if an employee cause injury, death or property damage while operating a government vehicle. The bill would replace these immunities with only one circumstance where the municipality is immune. The employer would only be immune from liability resulting in injury, death or property damage if a police officer was pursuing a suspect for a criminal offense and the suspect was fleeing to avoid being caught.

City Manager Mark Cundiff said, “If we lose this immunity to liability, it would open us up to possible litigation.”

Council member Steve Wagner expressed great displeasure with the bill and the “Columbus elected officials.” He said it will end up costing “the locals even more money” as the city’s budget is already cut thin.

Mayor Mike Barhorst responded that out of the approximately 1,000 bills introduced, only about 100 become law. He said the bill is something council needs to take serious because if passed, “it would impact (the city) tremendously.”

Council also went into an executive session to prepare for negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees, employment of a public official, to consider the purchase of property for public purposes and for pending or imminent court action.

When council emerged, they voted to adopt a resolution granting Cundiff to enter into a bargaining agreement with AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) Ohio Council 8, Local 2429, which is the city employees’ union. It includes Sidney city employees who are not police officers or firefighters. The terms of the agreement are undisclosed at this time. The agreement, which council approved, will now go to a vote for union members, likely sometime this week, Cundiff said. The agreement must be ratified by the union for it to be considered a binding contract.

During the comments portion of the meeting, Council member Janet Born thanked Cundiff and Duane Gaier, parks and recreation department director, for measuring for the handicap ramp she had asked about for the Senior Center at the previous meeting.

Barhorst commented that he and others who visited area industrial plants in celebration of Manufacturing Day last Friday had a great day.

Gaier provided handouts of the “mock-up” of an American veterans’ monument that is sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 48, and will be placed in Graceland Cemetery possibly next spring.

Jones announced retired Sidney Firefighter Myron Smith had died. He said his funeral services will be held on Thursday morning at Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home.

Cundiff announced the city reached its United Way goal. He thanked city employees for donating. He also reminded council that Utilities Director Larry Broughton’s retirement party will be at 11:30 a.m. on Friday in council chambers .

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan was absent on Monday, and was excused by council.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.