By Amanda Ensinger
At a recent meeting, Prairie Township leaders gave their 2019 reports and discussed the upcoming year.
Among the items discussed was the December activity for the Prairie Township Fire Department, as well as the annual report for the department.
In December, the department took a total of 430 runs, 314 of those were EMS runs and 116 of those were fire runs.
“In total in 2019, the township took a total of 5,338 runs,” said Prairie Township Fire Chief Allen Scott. “Out of those runs, 3,899 were EMS runs and 1,439 were fire runs. We also provided automatic aid to neighboring communities outside the township.”
According to Scott, one of the largest medical issues the township responded to was overdoses as a result of the continued opioid epidemic on the westside.
Other items discussed was the advertising of positions at the Prairie Township Community Center, as well as increases to salary for those positions. Among these positions was the new aquatic supervisor position.
“The previous salary for this position was $45,000 to $65,000 and we would like to increase the position to $50,000 to $70,000,” said Michael Pollack, interim director of the community center.
The board approved the pay increase and agreed to start advertising for the position. The board also approved the renewal of several personal service contracts for the center that will last until Dec. 31, 2020.
Community center officials also gave an update on membership in December and announced plans for the center this year. Currently, the center has more than 7,000 members and at least 4,000 of them are senior citizens.
The trustees also approved having the community center as a polling place with the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Residents shared their concerns about township leaders not allowing AARP to have access to a room in the community center to do taxes for free for area seniors. Some residents said they were upset to hear this and are concerned that they would have to drive further to have their taxes done for free.
“We decided not to continue with that program this year because they needed to utilize a room in the community center every Tuesday and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from now until tax season is over,” Pollack said. “They couldn’t pay a fee to use the rooms and we wanted to use the rooms for other activities. We now have some activities going on in those rooms.”
Area residents said the township has partnered with AARP to provide a room to seniors for this service for years and do not understand why they can’t find another place to offer this service.
The trustees agreed to look into this further and try to find a place to offer this service to seniors through AARP.
“Let’s talk internally about this and get back with you,” said Stephen Kennedy, township trustee. “I don’t think any of us are opposed to this; we just need to find a place that can accommodate the amount of space they would need.”