Fire staffing discussed at council meeting

By Drew Stambaugh -

Last week’s Swanton Village Council meeting was light on action with fire department staffing among the other items discussed.

Fire consultant Mike Wolever spoke to the Finance Committee about wages. He said current wages for the fire department are too low, with new hires starting at $9-10 per hour. “People can’t sustain that,” he said.

The wages could turn into a bigger problem with keeping staff.

“We’re on a brink of losing more people,” said Wolever. “And it’s not because they don’t want to do the job.”

Also, currently the minimum staffing each day is three people, with two full-time and one part-time. Ideally, Wolever would prefer four people, with two full-time and two part-time.

More discussion is planned on how exactly to move forward. Swanton Mayor Ann Roth said that no decision by council is expected until November.

Also at the meeting, it was announced that the Fulton County Auditor had provided information about this year’s Undivided Local Government Fund. The Village of Swanton will receive $66,209.37 this year.

That is the lowest in the last four years. The amount received over the previous three years ranged from $67,000 to $75,000.

Council approved accepting the money.

Several in attendance at the meeting left upset after they were not able to speak regarding the proposed Norfolk Southern staging yard. Council rules state that those interested in speaking must ask to be put on the agenda.

Other business

• Council approved seeking bids for granular activated carbon material at the water treatment plant.

• Karla Sexton, fiscal officer, and Stewart Graf, wastewater treatment operator, were approved for continuing employment.

• By emergency ordinance, council approved utilizing ODOT for bridge inspections.

• The village will begin putting door hangers on residences for nuisance issues. Yellow hangers will be for those with high grass and purple for those with excessive junk, debris, etc.

“We’re putting those out as a courtesy… I’ve gotten a lot of calls from individuals stating, ‘I didn’t know about this ordinance.’ The ordinance has been in effect since 1964,” said Hoelzle. “So, it’s just trying to educate our residents of what we’re doing.”

• Today, the Planning Commission will have two items for discussion. There will be a site plan review for a proposed Taco Bell on Airport Highway and a review of a conditional use permit for Swanton Local Schools’ proposed additions to Crestwood and Park elementary schools.

• Ohio Public Works Commission applications were submitted Church Street phase 1, and the Garfield Bridge project.

By Drew Stambaugh

Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise

Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise