WEST ALEXANDRIA — Village Council discussed recycling contracts, hiring practices and the purchase of a new ambulance during its regular monthly meeting Monday, April 19.
EMS Chief Tom Smith suggested purchasing a new ambulance at a cost of approximately $250,000. Smith stated that the Fire & EMS department’s two current ambulances are approaching nine and seven years old, with roughly 87,000 and 40,000 miles on the odometer, respectively.
Smith speculated that both vehicles would soon begin requiring more frequent and costly repairs.
“They’re not nickel and diming us yet,” Smith said. “We’re not to that point, but I want to avoid getting to that point.”
Councilman Dan Utsinger asked how frequently Smith would like to rotate out older vehicles, with Smith suggesting an average lifespan of nine or ten years.
Councilman Zach Shafer was skeptical, however.
“I think this is more of a want right now than a need,” Shafer said. Shafer claimed that a 2010-model ambulance currently in service in Eaton has more than 200,000 miles and is still “purring like a champ.”
Village Administrator Adam Beneke felt differently, however, pointing out that a new unit could be equipped with four-wheel drive.
“Look at our community – we’re talking about farms, we’re talking about someone who might be out in the middle of a field,” Beneke said, suggesting that it might be difficult for the village’s current vehicles to even reach such a location.
Mayor Jeff Hickey agreed.
“All that other equipment is useless if you can’t get to the scene,” Hickey said.
Shafer suggested consulting with Lanier and Twin Townships, which the West Alexandria Fire & EMS department also services, before making such a large purchase, but Smith suggested that would be a waste of time.
“Running around to township meetings and asking for their blessing – at that point I’m just spinning my wheels,” Smith said.
Council president Ashley Myers moved to solicit additional quotes before making a decision. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.
Council voted unanimously to renew its waste management contract with Cincinnati-based Rumpke Consolidated Companies, Inc. without adding recycling service for individual residents. The village currently maintains a number of large communal recycling bins.
Utsinger initiated the motion, which was seconded by Shafer. Village resident Karen Mays raised concerns about some residents being able to access the large bins, however.
“I can just about bet that most of the old folks aren’t going to recycle in those bins,” Mays said. “We’re just going to end up throwing everything into the landfill.”
Utsinger claimed that adding recycling service would increase the average resident’s trash bill by close to $5 per month, however.
“We get severe backlash whenever we raise anything,” Utsinger said.
Utility Clerk position
Beneke announced the resignation of Utility Clerk Kelsey Creech effective May 4.
“Being able to contribute to the village has been an immensely rewarding experience over the last two years,” Creech wrote in a letter read aloud by Beneke. Council voted unanimously to accept Creech’s resignation.
Council later debated the details of a job posting advertising a new utility clerk position, with Myers suggesting a part-time position with no benefits, to be paid at a rate of $10-13 per hour.
Beneke and Fiscal Officer Shaylie Werner favored making the position full-time, however, citing the difficulty and expense of training new hires.
“The position requires a decent amount of training,” Beneke said. “How long are we going to be able to keep a part-time employee before they find a full-time position? Then we have to train another part-timer.”
“You obviously don’t want to create a position where you have to train somebody new every five months,” he said.
Councilman Shannon Smith suggested making the position full-time “so we find someone we can keep.”
Shafer suggested combining the utility clerk position with a posting for a new Street Dept. worker, meanwhile, but Beneke was skeptical.
“I don’t feel like that would be an easy position to blend,” Beneke said, suggesting that the two jobs required different sets of experience and skills.
Council ultimately voted to advertise a part-time position with a pay range of $10-18 per hr.
Village Council meetings take place the third Monday of each month at the Fire & EMS office, located at 8 Marty Ln.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish