Safety issues and sidewalks discussed in Prairie Township

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Crime was at the top of the agenda at a recent Prairie Township board meeting.

Deputy Burton Haren, with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, discussed an increase they are seeing in firearms theft, as well as what residents can do to protect themselves.

“Please write the serial numbers down of your firearms,” said Haren. “We also keep seeing a rise in thefts from vehicles. Please do not leave valuables in your vehicle.”
Burton encouraged residents to join the Citizens Academy.

“This academy gives a little insight into what we do on a day-to-day basis and is a great training session,” he said.

New medic

The board approved purchasing a new medic for the Prairie Township Fire Department. Fire Chief Allen Scott asked the board to approve the purchase of a new medical vehicle from Horton Emergency Vehicles.

“The cost of the vehicle will be no more than $270,000,” Scott said. “As of this morning, the quote is $268,551. There are some additional discounts which may apply. There are also additional, nominal fees, which may accompany design changes.”

The new medic will replace a 2006 vehicle with 190,000 miles. Fees for equipment, graphics, and radios will be presented for board approval closer to the delivery date, in the spring of 2023.

Community Center Information Packet

The trustees approved a Community Center Information Packet, as well as promoting the packet with new community center members.

“The packet includes all of our rules and welcomes the new member to the community center,” said Michael Pollack, director of the community center. “We also will offer promotional coupons for new members that include discounts on personal training and classes.”

Pollack said the goal is to raise awareness about the variety of programming the center offers. The information packet will be kept at the front desk and will be also promoted on social media.

Sidewalk program

The board moved forward with the 2022 sidewalk program and approved contracting with Berkshire Boys Inc.

“This year the minimum cost per address is $1,500,” said Dave McAninch, interim administrator for the township. “I also recommend we pick up where we left off after 2019 with walking and identifying sidewalks that do not meet our established criteria.”

The program, which replaces dangerous sidewalks in the township, has been taking place for more than 15 years.

The program offers township property owners a 10-year interest free loan to repair their sidewalks. The loans are added to the property taxes of residents and paid off over a decade.

However, if a resident moves, then they must pay the remaining balance before the sale of their home can be completed.

Previously the program was voluntary, but in recent years the township added a component to the program where they make residents replace sidewalks that are dangerous. Also, residents can report sidewalks that need to be repaired.

In 2020 and 2021 the program was made all voluntary as a result of the financial situation many Americans are facing due to COVID-19 pandemic. However, this year the program will go back to being involuntary.

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