Franklin Township Fire Chief Richard Howard determined the cost effectiveness of allowing the fire prevention officer/investigator to take the township car home versus reimbursement, but he could not present the information at the Oct. 2 trustees meeting.
According to Howard, he didn’t have all the information Trustee Tim Guyton requested.
“I didn’t get all the other information he requested as far as the position requirements from all the other (fire) departments and stuff. I talked about Tim about getting together with the rest of the board when I get that. We can sit down and discuss how my figures come out,” said Howard.
Guyton had previously asked Howard to gather the amount of staffing by rank and budget for fire prevention and inspection divisions within departments from other townships in the county.
“This information makes a difference because Don continues to state we ‘waste’ money. I will show that we do not,” said Guyton.
Howard said the numbers he now has show that allowing the fire prevention officer/investigator to take the township car home versus reimbursement saves the township $2,500.
Trustee Don Cook was upset that the calculations are being delayed again.
“We’ve drug this out for three months,” said Cook. “You can’t tell me that’s going to save $2,500 a year.”
Cook said he does not think people realize that if the fire prevention officer/investigator was reimbursed for mileage instead of driving the township car, he would only get reimbursed the state rate of 50 cents per mile and only for the times he has actually been on-call to investigate fires.
Cook said currently the fire prevention officer/investigator drives the car in the course of his normal day-to-day duties, such as attending meetings.
“He was called in approximately 12 times last year so you would pay him approximately 50 cents a mile to come from his home to the office, get the township car, and then 50 cents a mile home in his car,” said Cook.
Cook believes the amount the township spends on gas alone is $5,000 for the township car, but if the township provided a reimbursement instead, he believes it would be $800 a year.
Cook admits these are estimates on his part, based on the fire prevention officer/investigator driving 120 miles roundtrip between Zanesville and Columbus costing $100 a week for 52 weeks a year.
“People are going to hear excuses to no end to justify this, just like they’ve had eight weeks to work the figures. You can work the figures and find enough stuff to where up it comes out to your benefit,” said Cook.
The trustees unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting on Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. to allow Howard to officially present all the calculations, along with the information requested by Guyton.
Howard said he has seen Don’s calculations and is interested in hearing how Cook derived those numbers but he does not want to comment further until the Oct. 14 special meeting.
“At this time the facts and figures have been completed and they will be brought to the board meeting on Oct. 14 and they will bring up the expenses and we will bring documentation as to how the prevention office is being used throughout Franklin County,” said Howard.
Both Cook and Howard want to make sure the community is aware of the meeting and makes an effort to come.
“I urge residents to attend the special meeting so they can get information on the car going to Zanesville, or if they have any input or questions, then they can ask at that October meeting,” said Cook.