Township transitions dispatch services ahead of schedule

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By Amanda Ensinger

Staff Writer

The Prairie Township Fire Department announced at a recent board meeting that they have fully completed the transition of their dispatching services to Grove City, several weeks ahead of schedule.

“The transition has gone fantastic,” said Tracy Hatmaker, Prairie Township administrator. “We ended up doing the transition earlier than expected because of staff issues, but everything has gone seamlessly.”

Originally, the fire department was supposed to fully transition the township’s dispatching services to Grove City by Dec. 1, 2017, however after dispatchers resigned and had to take a leave for health issues, the department was forced to complete the transition several weeks earlier.

The township will pay Grove City $211,000 a year to provide dispatching services. Previously, it cost the township $331,000 a year to provide its own dispatching services.

With the removal of dispatchers at the township’s fire department, the department also is looking into renovating Station 241 to utilize the new extra space.

Among these improvements would be a new space for an administrative assistant who will help oversee the Grove City dispatching, a renovated office for the officer who is the head of the unit for the day, an updated conference room and a new office for Prairie Township Fire Chief Chris Snyder.

“They also are creating a women’s dorm to better accommodate the female first responders,” Hatmaker said. “Nearly $100,000 has been appropriated for this project, but we don’t think it will cost that much to do these renovations.”

In other news, township leadership also discussed the archiving they are required to do of social media posts.

“If we get a public records request for social media posts we must provide them with these posts,” Hatmaker said. “In order to do this, we must archive Facebook and other social media posts so we can retrieve them and comply with the request.”

To meet these requirements, the trustees approved paying $200 to set this archiving service up, as well as paying an additional $99 a month.

The township also agreed to spend a total of $13,411 on 94 trees on Beacon Hill Road between Rome-Hilliard Road and Buena Vista Avenue.

“These are general improvements to the area, as well as a way to reduce driving speed in the area,” Hatmaker said. “When street trees are added to areas, it gives the impression that the road is narrower, and people slow down. The road isn’t narrower, but it gives the impression it is.”

Hatmaker said they have found that when a road is more open people tend to speed in the area, so this is an attempt to hinder those speeders.

The board also approved allowing part-time employees to receive pay raises after their second year of service. Currently, nothing was approved allowing the community center to give part-time employee raises after their second year of service.

After their second year of service, a part-time employee would receive a pay increase if they have a satisfactory review and have worked 936 hours.

“This is important for staying competitive and retaining employees,” Hatmaker said. “These positions are very competitive, and we want to keep employees we have already trained who are doing a satisfactory job.

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