–by Mike Jones
PUBLICATION DATE: Sept 03, 2019
The agenda for the Sylvania Township trustees meeting listed one item as the “Final Briefing” on Lucas County’s proposal to consolidate different 911 operations into one agency. It may have been the final, but it wasn’t brief.
At the outset, Chairman John Crandall postponed hearing some routine agenda matters and canceled a planned executive session when it was clear several people wanted to speak either for or against the plan to merge the county’s six primary dispatch centers into one independent agency.
Matt Heyrman, director of public safety for Lucas County, highlighted points made in a 44-page plan which he said will lead to a more efficient means of call-taking and dispatching than the current system. Heyrman stressed that the proposed agency will not be part of an existing government, but will be an independent agency and individual jurisdictions will have joint control.
By consolidating operations, he said, there is a projected cost savings of about $5.2 million county-wide with a savings of almost $740,000 for Sylvania Township. However, Maumee police officer Cory Henson said he questions how the proposal can suggest specific savings asking, “If you don’t know salaries and other costs, how can you know savings?” He added, “I don’t see a lot of concern for the human element,” in the plan.
Officials have said that all of those currently employed in 911 operations will be employed under the new system. But Maumee Police Chief David Tullis said his dispatchers are dedicated, hard-working employees and he stated, “We are throwing them into an uncertain environment.” They may have lower pay, different working conditions and changes in medical coverage and retirement plans.
Steve Salander, active in a citizens’ group opposed to consolidation, praised the current practice of dispatching and noted that in a recent bank robbery in Oregon, police were dispatched in only 28 seconds from when notification of the robbery was received.
Stacy Mitchell, supervisor of 911 services for the Toledo Police Department, said that example supports a consolidation of dispatch agencies. She said a Toledo police car was within a block or two of the bank robbery and better situated to hinder the escape, but wasn’t made aware of the robbery until later. After the meeting she added, “I don’t even want to go there,” when considering what might have happened if the Toledo police officer become involved in what he or she considered a routine traffic stop, but the car was being driven by an armed bank robber.
Trustees took no action after the approximately three-hour meeting, but Crandall said he had been asked by the county for a decision by the end of September. The ultimate decision of whether or not consolidation takes place will be up to a five-member planning committee. The committee members will be the president of the Lucas County commissioners, Toledo’s mayor, a trustee from the county’s largest township, which is Sylvania Township, one person to represent the other townships and a mayor from the other municipalities in the county.
If a majority of that five-member committee approves of consolidation then every community has to participate.The procedure is spelled out in state law and can not be changed at the local level.
Two Sylvania Township Services
The annual Sylvania Township collection of unwanted household items and brush removal are scheduled to begin the week of Sept. 9. Both are a one-time sweep of the township and Rob Nash, superintendent of roads and services, suggested that residents have items at the edge of the street the night before to avoid being missed. He also cautioned that no leaves will be picked up. Brush pickup is meant primarily for storm-damaged branches and tree limbs.
Household items 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.
Nash noted that last year’s pickup of household items resulted in a collection of 120 tons.
As some of this year’s road projects have been completed or are nearing that point, the Sylvania Township trustees recently approved a contract for resurfacing some roadways, which will get underway next year.
On the recommendation of Rob Nash, road and services superintendent, the trustees agreed to a contract with Bowers Asphalt and Paving for $554,123.60 to resurface 2.71 miles of township roads.
The work will occur on Stonybrook Boulevard, Sycamore Trail, Timber View Court, and Poplar Court, Plat one and two of Kings Hollow, Goodhue Drive from Moffat to Holland-Sylvania, Zone Avenue from Central to Blossman, Millicent Avenue from Central to Bonsels and Cason avenues.