–by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: Sept 04, 2018
Departments under budget
At the year’s halfway point, Sylvania Township’s fiscal officer David Simko offered congratulations to department heads and all employees for keeping a close eye on expenditures in the first six months. He noted that the four main budgetary departments were under 50 percent in spending for the year through the end of June. Unlike some places, Simko stressed that the township is stringent in setting annual department budgets, “which means it takes effort to stay within the amounts budgeted for each year.” There are places, he said, which will pass budgets with inflated numbers, allowing for much freer spending.
Sylvania Township also doesn’t penalize departments for coming in well under budget. Simko explained, “In some places, when a department spends a good deal less than they had budgeted, let’s say on a particular line item, and they come back the next year with a request for about the original amount, they’re told no they can’t have it. That they showed in the previous year they didn’t need that much. That can lead to departments scrambling to spend every cent budgeted. We don’t do that.”
Sylvania Township, he said, has thorough budget discussions by the administration with the head of each department. He said the annual budget, when it’s approved, is an honest look at what spending should be over the year. The revenue side of the budget, he said, is based primarily on what Lucas County officials determine to be annual tax receipts as well as income from other sources.
Through the first six months, each township department sits near the expected 50 percent of revenue. Expenditures from the general fund for the same time frame were about $907,000, or 41 percent of the amount budgeted. The road and bridge fund had spent about $881,000, only 29.9 percent of its annual budget. That percentage is certain to increase when bills are paid for summer road projects. The police department had spent a total of about $3,670,000, or 47.4 percent of their annual budget and the fire department had spent nearly $4 million, or 43.5 percent.
Simko said that in recent years the administration has been very open about its finances when dealing with departments as well as unions. Although there are still disagreements, the openness has led to a spirit of cooperation which has resulted in departments and each employee watching the bottom line, he added.
STFD receives grants
The Sylvania Township Fire Department has received a grant of more than $200,000 for breathing apparatus and will also share in a regional grant of more than $700,000 for new radio equipment. Chief Michael Ramm said the radio equipment grant has special importance because the radio equipment currently in use is a type which Motorola has announced will be discontinued.
“By the end of this year, they won’t service them or make replacement parts. There’s an inventory, but eventually, they’ll all have to be replaced. This grant will go a long way in reducing our cost,” Ramm stated. The grant from FEMA is $712,820.
The money allows for the purchase of portable radios worn by firefighters as well as mobile radios installed in vehicles. Other departments that will share in the grant are Rossford, Toledo, Maumee, Whitehouse and Richfield and Jerusalem townships. Chief Ramm said the exact dollar amount for Sylvania Township’s share has not yet been determined. The regional grant will require a ten percent match from those receiving the funding.
The grant for self-contained breathing apparatus is for a total of $223,223. Funds will be used to purchase packages containing the air cylinder, hoses and masks for use by firefighters in smoky environments or when toxic fumes are a danger. The money should cover the cost of 28 equipment packages.
“This is the third or fourth time we’ve applied for these grants and this is just great news for the department,” he said.
Neal Mahoney, chairman of the Sylvania Township trustees, said he is pleased with the work of the fire department on the grant applications and with their success in obtaining the funding.
One time pick-up planned
It’s time for a quick look at household items, which have been sitting unused in the garage, basement, attic or wherever you put them, thinking one day you’d find a use for them. What it’s really time for is to consider putting those items at the curb or roadside Sept. 9. The next morning, Monday, Sept. 10, crews will begin a one-time sweep of Sylvania Township streets to collect unwanted household items.
Things which will be collected include bicycles, bundled books and papers, carpeting, which must be rolled and no longer than 5 ft., empty containers and drums, appliances with no refrigerants, mattresses and box springs, furniture, with furniture legs over 12 inches removed, miscellaneous items placed in disposable containers, and toys.
Building permit surge
There has been a surge in requests to the Sylvania Township planning and zoning office for permits for the construction of single-family homes, which has resulted in a near doubling of the number issued as of the end of July compared to last year.
Karlene Henderson, manager of the planning and zoning office, told trustees at a recent board meeting that the number of permits issued this year, as of the end of July, had reached 88, a 95 percent increase over the total of 45 permits which had been issued by the end of July in 2017.
She noted that the office has had something of a watch in recent years to see if the total will reach 100 and it appears that this year that mark will be met.
Neal Mahoney, chairman of the trustees, said after the meeting that he was pleased with that number. He noted that the township has superior basic services and that the community as a whole offers numerous amenities which makes living in the township desirable.
The 100 mark in permits was hit in 2016, with the total dropping somewhat last year to 93. In the recent past, the high was 134 in 2006, with it plummeting to 28 in 2009 during the financial crises.
Commendation letter written
Sylvania Township Fire Chief Michael Ramm wrote a letter of commendation recently for the quick actions of two police officers for their part in responding to a report of a woman drowning in a backyard pool.
The chief noted that Sylvania Township police officer William Tollison was on patrol when he heard the dispatcher’s report sending the Sylvania Township fire department and a unit from the Sylvania City police department to the scene.
Although as a township officer he had not been dispatched to the scene in the city, officer Tollison was nearby and in fact was the first safety unit to arrive. Chief Ramm’s letter described the officer’s action of leaving his gun and equipment belt on the pool deck and jumping into the water.
Shortly after he had gotten to the woman and was holding her head above water, officer Zachary Andrzejewski arrived at the pool. He also ditched his gun and equipment belt on the deck and entered the pool.
Chief Ramm’s letter noted that as officer Tollison performed CPR, officer Andrzejewski maintained a clear airway and the Sylvania Township fire department then arrived to continue efforts and to transport the victim to Toledo Hospital.
The chief praised the officers’ “quick and determined actions,” in the situation.