Sylvania Township News
Sylvania Township News, August 1, 2020
by Mike Jones
(click to see the last news update)

 CHOPPER  July 29, 2020

Toledo Edison will begin helicopter flights over Sylvania Township beginning July 27 or July 28, weather permitting.

The flights are routine patrols to check the condition of conductors, hardware, and the overall structure of the company’s transmission lines.

Meg Adams, a spokeswoman for the utility, said the survey will continue for two to three weeks, noting that the schedule for the operation is weather dependent.

The project will be concentrated on the transmission lines in Sylvania Township along the Ohio-Michigan border. She also noted that on occasion it is likely the helicopter will hover for a time if the observer needs a closer look at something.

Ms. Adams said the flights can cause curiosity and sometimes a concern for some members of the public so the utility issues an alert prior to the patrol.

 FIRE LEVY  July 29, 2020

Sylvania Township trustees have given the final approval necessary to place a 1.9 mill levy for the fire department on this November’s ballot.

Trustees had earlier voted in favor of the measure, but the more recent vote came after certification of amounts involved by the Lucas County Auditor.

Under current circumstances, the fire fund is predicted to run a deficit in 2022.

When a 1.5 mill levy was approved in 2014, the department’s 56 firefighter/paramedics responded to 4,706 alarms. Last year its 60 firefighter/paramedics responded to 6,380 calls for aid. Last month the department added three firefighter/paramedics.

Fire Chief Mike Ramm had suggested a levy request for 2.4 mills, but after discussions with civic groups and individuals, the request will be for 1.9 mills.

Due to the increasing number of calls, the department will need additional personnel now and in the future,  Chief Ramm said. There will also be increasing maintenance costs and periodically a need to purchase equipment.

One of those purchases, as noted in a needs assessment for the fire department, is an additional medic unit.  In 2014, rescue/emergency runs totaled 3,637. Last year they were 4,567.

Trustees said they understand that in the current economic climate a request for a fire levy might not seem well-timed.  However, there is a clear and documented need for additional funding to keep the Sylvania Township Fire Department at the excellent level of service it has provided.

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POOL PERMITS UP  July 28, 2020

Although the coronavirus pandemic has slowed some construction categories in Sylvania Township and elsewhere it has been responsible for an increase in one.

According to statistics kept by the Sylvania Township Planning and Zoning office, requests for permits for the installation of home swimming pools more than tripled by the end of this June compared to the same time period in 2019.

Permits through June this year totaled 13 as opposed to the 4 permits issued through the same time period last year and in 2018.

Daryl Graus, manager of the planning and zoning office, said he and his staff had noticed the increase and said it seemed based on concerns related to the pandemic.

Donna Okapal. an owner of Bella Blue Pools, said her business has seen a large increase, “because people would rather use their own yards than go somewhere else,” for water-related recreation and exercise.

She noted that some swimming facilities didn’t open this year and those that have, have imposed limits. Ms. Okapal said much of the business is driven by parents who aren’t comfortable sending their children to pools which are either public or private, and  “In some cases, they don’t want their kids to go down to the neighbors’ pool where the kids have gone,” in prior summers,  she said.

PROMOTION  July 24, 2020

John Tanner has been promoted to the rank of sergeant in the Sylvania Township police department, with the recent approval of the township trustees.

Deputy Chief Jim Rettig said the new sergeant has spent most of his career as a patrol officer, but for a time had been assigned to detective work as part of a task force attached to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Chief Rettig said Sgt. Tanner has received numerous departmental citations for superior performance over his career as well as an award from MADD for enforcement of drunk driving laws and an honorable mention in a national “Top Cop” competition sponsored by the National Association of Police Organizations.

Sgt. Tanner was on top of the remaining promotion list which had been established in 2018.

FISCAL UPDATE  July 23, 2020

At the midway point in the year, Sylvania Township’s financial picture is in good shape, according to David Simko, the township’s fiscal officer.

Mr. Simko told trustees at their most recent meeting that the revenue side is at about the expected 50 percent for each department as the budget anticipated, and that departments have kept expenses below half of what had been budgeted.

“It’s good news,” Mr. Simko said after the meeting, “and it’s a credit to department heads and all of the employees who pay close attention to expenditures.”

He added that the work of staying within budget begins when the annual budget is determined late in the previous year.

He said it’s the township’s practice to not rely on expenditures of the previous year but to start with a clean slate. He said he knows of other entities that essentially punish departments that stay well below their budgeted expenditures.

“They’re kind of saying if you didn’t use it this year, you don’t need it for next year,” Mr. Simko said.

“We just want to know what necessary expenditures are coming,” he added.

He noted that pre-budget talks can lead to some negotiating, but issues are resolved and a budget agreed to for each department.

The township’s annual revenues are relatively predictable, but the township’s employees can make a difference on the expense side of the ledger.

“For the last several years we’ve developed a good relationship and I think it shows, both in developing a budget and in working hard to stay within it.”

The general fund has spent about $850,000, or 41 percent of its annual budget, the road and bridge fund has listed expenditures of $1,046,37 for 29.6 percent of its budget, the police department has spent 44.8 percent of its budget with expenditures of about $3,800,000 and the fire department is at 47 percent of its budget with costs of $4,760,000.

Mr.Simko noted that the road and bridge fund is usually well below its budgeted expenditures at this time of year because all of the costs of seasonal road resurfacing, curb repair and other seasonal tasks haven’t yet been paid.

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