FEMA doesnt deliver for FT

The Franklin Township Trustees learned the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will not pay as much as expected for clean-up from the September windstorm.

At a recent township meeting, Road Maintenance and Building Supervisor Jim Stevens said he and Katherine Wihl, fiscal officer for the township, tried their best to push the reimbursement issue.

"When Katherine and I went to the FEMA meeting to turn over paperwork for debris removal, we sent pictures of the fire truck and the fence situation, and we were told by them that neither one of these will be covered under the FEMA debris removal that we’re doing now," said Stevens. "They said that’s pretty much just an insurance situation."

Stevens said he and Wihl were told FEMA’s scope of assistance is limited to debris removal.

Chairman Tim Guyton said since FEMA will not reimburse the scratch on the medic truck, he asked the trustees to consider just buffing the scratch down and using touch-up paint instead of paying full price to fix it.

"We’re looking at up to $700. It might be as cheap as the cost of the touch-up bottle," said Guyton.

All three trustees agreed with a touch-up job for the medic.

Cutting costs

The trustees will soon find out whether buying fuel in bulk with the Franklin County Engineers Office is cost-effective.

Guyton said the engineer’s office will provide the township with billing information of what the county has charged the township for the past six months on Dec 8.  

"What they bill the people who participate is an average of the six months collections, so it might be $4 (per gallon) one time, $2 another and it averages to $3 and that’s what you get billed for the six months," said Guyton.

In other cost-cutting measures, the township discussed whether to buy brine from the county or make their own.

Trustee Don Cook thought the cost to buy is cheaper since it would not deplete the limited salt supply the township is getting this year.

"It just may be cheaper for us to buy it than it is for us to make it," said Cook.

Guyton said the cost is $60 to buy a tank full of brine from the county versus $34.50 for the township to make its own brine.

Stevens suggested the township offer to brine Valleyview’s roads for $60 to offset the costs of the brine from the county.

Uniform purchases

Trustees tussled regarding the responsibility of buying uniforms for the road maintenance crew and getting the best deals.

"When we went through this last year when they signed the contract, everybody sat here and agreed, the board, the union, the men; we tried to set up one place where they got a discount," said Cook.

"No we didn’t. We definitely did not do that," said Guyton.

The trustees decided to let Stevens purchase whatever the crew needs in bulk to get a better rate.

"To me it doesn’t matter where these guys get their jeans from, it would just be nice to put this to bed and be done with it," said Stevens.

Special meeting

The trustees agreed to have a special meeting at 6:30 p.m. following the rescheduled meeting on Dec. 10 to discuss what Stevens’ responsibilities as the road maintenance and building supervisor are.

Guyton said the reason for discussing this at a special meeting is to allow the public the option of leaving after the regular township meeting.

"We are holding a special meeting just so we do not bore the audience with details. This is open to the public and will be more of a working/brainstorming meeting. The goal is to clearly define who is responsible for various maintenance type issues that occur within the township properties," said Guyton.

Cook said the reasons for the meeting go deeper than what Guyton stated. According to Cook, before the township had a road maintenance and building supervisor, the department heads had to take care of their own maintenance issues. Now that responsibility has been given to Stevens, this has caused a shake-up in the departments, including Fire Chief Richard Howard.

"Howard (said) all the firehouses weren’t supposed to do anything without calling a trustee. He told them they couldn’t change a light bulb. He got the firemen upset and that wasn’t the intent of it," said Cook.

Howard was unavailable for comment.

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