New township fire station remains a hot topic

By Linda Dillman
Staff Writer

Discussion at the Madison Township trustees April 19 meeting featured a debate about the new firehouse planned for the northern section of the township.

Fire Chief Robert Bates continued to clarify that the new firehouse was initially presented as a full-service station, saying when the levy was put before voters, it was for a medic unit with expansion possibilities for the future.

“That is always what was intended from day one,” said Bates.

Madison Township trustee John Kershner said when the process was started months ago, it came with promises the design-build concept was the most time and cost effective way to proceed.

“Once, after so many months, I was presented with a NTE (Not to Exceed) number and started to object to the cost rather than being presented with a method to address the issue and work together on a solution, I was steamrolled and ignored,” Kershner said.

At the conclusion of a March 2 special meeting, the trustees voted 2-1 to pursue financing of construction notes for the $3.6 million project, which was approved by voters in 2015.
Kershner was the lone dissenting vote, with trustees Victor Paini and Ed Dildine voting for the motion, which required a unanimous decision in order to proceed. The township’s legal team was then asked to explore all options for resolutions regarding the project/moving forward with financing.

The township was told it also has the option—under the same terms—for an Ohio Revised Code approved alternative that only requires a simple majority or for the Franklin County prosecutor to grant authorization, which could take much longer.

With that new information the trustees voted again March 22 on the financing resolution with the same results as before, this time using the simple majority to pass the legislation.

“At last month’s meeting, I got presented with a resolution I didn’t know was coming,” said Kershner. “It was supposed to be a question and answer period, but it was more like a Jerry Springer show. If we arrived at a cost close to the national average, I wouldn’t have as many questions.”

Kershner said he is concerned with a per-square-foot cost of more than $300, alleging it is much higher than the national average, and the 11,000 square foot size of the structure.

Kershner said when it comes to issues of fire expertise, they defer to the chief. However, when the discussion turns to  exterior building treatments and going beyond practical functionality to unique, embellished designs, it is the job of the trustees to not write blank checks or rubber stamp ideas.

“This is the kind of conversation I want to have,” said Kershner, who asked the trustees to visit the new Bloom Township station as a comparison. Dildine said he has already visited the station and Paini did not attend the meeting due to illness.

Previous articleCOTA to realign bus routes
Next articleReynoldsburg school board questions state assessments

2 COMMENTS

  1. We, the voters of Madison Township, approved the taxation and construction of the new Fire Department facility to serve the northern part of the township. As far as I know, the taxes have started being paid. The citizens of the northern part of Madison Township determined a nearby EMT Squad facility would prove extremely important in reducing response time from the current facility on Hamilton Road due to traffic congestion and distance. Unfortunately in the current situation, it seems that feuding and delay tactics by some trustee(s) is keeping the new facility from being built and possibly wasting money as well without even a spadeful of dirt having been turned on the site. This facility needs to get built–the sooner the better. JUST BUILD IT AS IT WAS PRESENTED TO THE VOTERS–the colors of the interior walls or any other incidental can be discussed and fought over later. Trustees, get the dirt moving! Maybe a recall petition might get things moving on a more tangible direction.

  2. It’s not about the color of interior walls or other incidentals it’s a huge building to house one ems vehicle

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.