Austintown Township trustees kicked off 2014 with a full agenda at the Jan. 13 meeting. Trustees Lisa Oles, Jim Davis and newly elected trustee Ken Carano welcomed three new full time firefighters who began service on the new Austintown/Lane ambulance.
The meeting opened with an over-capacity crowd. Besides the families, friends and fellow fire fighters in attendance, a large number of Fitch government students attempted to squeeze into township hall. To keep with the fire code regarding maximum capacity, the Fitch students were moved to another location at the hall while the new firefighters were sworn in.
Taking the oath of office were Keith Rosser, Nick Reed, and Brandon Wirtz. All three will be serving on the new Austintown/Lane's ambulance that went into service this month.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Kicking off the first Austintown Township Trustees meeting of 2014, Fiscal Officer Laura Wolfe swears in the fire department's three new full time firefighter/EMTs. Pictured from left are: Brandon Wirtz, Nick Reed and Keith Rosser.
"It is an innovative way to bring an ambulance to the township," said Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler. "Austintown has taken the lead and I am sure more communities will follow."
Fire Chief Andy Frost III said the three new full-time firefighter/EMTs are a win-win for both Lane and the township. Lane will operate the new ambulance out of Fire Station 1 on Route 46. The station got a minor remodel to be able to house a 24/7 ambulance crew.
Lane's will keep the ambulance only in the township. When it responds to a call, the company will charge the same rate as other ambulances in the fleet. Lanes will also cover the cost of the new three new firefighters as well as benefits.
According to Frost, he has gained three more firemen and during a fire the ambulance will respond as well. Once it arrives the firefighter/EMT will put his gear on and help fight the fire. Should the ambulance need to make a run, Lane's shift manager also will respond with the ambulance.
Attending the swearing-in was former Fire Chief Andy Frost Jr. who said he was proud to see Wirtz, his grandson, sworn in. This is the third generation of firefighters in the family, he said.
Following the swearing-in ceremony, trustees took a short break to allow firefighter's families to leave the hall, after which Fitch students were ushered in for the remainder of the meeting.
During the meeting, trustees approved the engineering contract for the LeHarps Road upgrade. Road Department Supervisor Mike Dockry said the project should help ease drainage problems in that area. The project will involve about 300 feet of Leharps and will include new drains, a new road base and a concrete overlay. The contract was awarded to Thomas Fok and Associates for the Leharps Road Improvements Phase 2 and will cover the design engineering and consulting during construction for the sum of $30,000 with $20,684.21 paid by an Ohio Public Works Commission Issue I grant and $9,315.79 by Austintown Township.
In other business trustees:
Approved a motion to set regular meeting dates at 6 p.m. the second Monday of each month at 82 Ohltown Road and at noon the fourth Monday of each month at 112 Westchester Drive. In the month of May, the second meeting will be held May 27. ;
* Approved expenses for 2014 Ohio Township Association conventions, seminars, and CLOUT meetings attended by the fiscal officer, trustees, and/or administrator, and state auditor's and Bureau of Workers Compensation seminars;
* Approved advances from the Mahoning County auditor for first and second half real estate taxes from the 2014 real property collections for tax year 2013.
* Approved the date and time of Halloween to be 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31;
* Declared several vehicles as under $2,500 in value and gave approval to dispose of the vehicles;
* Publicly stated support for the quarter of one percent sales tax the county commissioners are considering.
* Dockry noted the recent winter storms has taken a toll on the road salt and he said the township will probably run out the total amount that can be purchased under the state program at $27 per ton. Dockry thanked the road crews who put in 12 hour days to keep Austintown roads open.
* Park Supervisor Todd Shaffer stated Township Park will still be accepting live Christmas trees until Jan. 31.
* Fire Chief Frost thanked Jim Henshaw and the Austintown Senior Center for opening up within 20 minutes after the power outages during the January storms to serve as a shelter. Henshaw said it offered a warm place for residents to go until power was restored and it was pet friendly.
"A lot of people won't leave their cold homes and go to shelters because they don't want to leave their animals at home," Henshaw said. "We welcome the pets as long as they have a carrier for the animals to stay in."