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EWFD November meeting report

DGKN staff report

DALTON  Proposals offered by two local entities to work toward settling an ongoing court case appear to be starting to align.

East Wayne Fire District’s board decided at last week’s regular meeting to ask Sugar Creek Township trustees to meet with them to figure out some of the details of the township’s counter proposal.

The board approved a motion to set up a meeting with Sugar Creek Township and invite Kidron Volunteer Fire Department. The motion included not having any attorneys present and to have the meeting in December.

To be able to compare the proposals, board member Blake Nussbaum was asked to read aloud during the meeting the proposals each entity sent to the other.

The EWFD proposal includes:

n The district will pay Kidron Volunteer Fire Department $35,000 through Sugar Creek Township for additional services and obligations through 2018 and will satisfy past claims.

n Amend the five-year contract to allow the township to contract with Kidron for the southern portion of the township and East Wayne for the northern portion.

n Contract with Sugar Creek Township at $70,000 for five years or $350,000 total. East Wayne would waive two years of indebteness or $140,000 to help prevent the township from depleting the general fund and to stay financially sound.

n East Wayne and Sugar Creek will cooperate in putting a levy on the ballot for 2021 to assist with loss of funds from levy ending in 2020.

n Three-year one-mill fire levy for 2018-2020 shall be split between EWFD and SCT based upon total call runs (which was amended in the meeting with them to be 54/43 with 3 percent reserved for Orrville.)

n EW will agree to soft bill residents and if insurance isn’t available the bill will be written off if the resident executes an affidavit.

n Upon leaving East Wayne Fire District, the township received $51,697 from the district. No further claims will be made relating to the auditor’s determination.

n  Both parties will sign mutual releases waiving any and all claims either may have against each other. All court costs will be split 50/50.

Sugar Creek Township trustees’ counter proposal includes:

n Settle all lawsuits. East Wayne Fire District agrees to withdraw all prior claims to 2015 agreemnt. SCT agrees to withdraw all prior claims through This terminates all prior contracts and claims so parties can move forward.

n Existing response areas north of SCT agrees to create a fire-tax district in an unincorporated area of the township to allow residents in Dalton to vote separately

n The current levy will be divided 54/53 will be services by KVFD. This $104,000 will pay off the fire/EMS contract.

n EWFD may soft bill residents in the township.

n Mutual release of prior claims.

n Both parties pay their own costs.

Nussbaum noted the proposals serve as a “good starting point” as many of the points are similar. He suggested an in-person meeting with township trustees may be beneficial to discuss the details of some of the points.

Board member Dennis Finley had concerns about the point in Sugar Creek’s proposal about the fire tax district.

The fire district’s attorney David Comstock was present at the meeting and he had some questions about the proposal as well. He said there are advantages and disadvantages to a fire tax district.

Grimes said he wouldn’t want Dalton residents to pay two taxes — one to the township and one to the fire district.

Nussbaum reiterated what he has said at previous meetings: to do what’s best for public safety and make sure something is in place immediately once the case is settled. Public safety is first and money is at the bottom of the list.

“We have to focus on the future and what we want it to look like,” Nussbaum said. “It’s settling this but it’s more importantly getting together as a group and figuring out what to do as a group.”

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