|Council hears from citizenry|
|Tuesday, September 10, 2013 12:00 AM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
DELPHOS — Delphos City Council heard remarks and questions from three citizens on the agenda at Monday’s meeting.
Former Fire Chief Wayne Suever sat in the Safety Committee meeting for discussion on increasing charges on EMS runs and charging for residential, business and mutual aid fire fighting.
“I agree with raising the rates for EMS runs to bring them in line with Medicare and Medicaid payments but charging for mutual aid is a bad idea,” he began. “It makes us an island. If we aren’t part of a mutual aid contract, we won’t go out on mutual aid calls and save some money there but if we need mutual aid, it will be very costly. It will surpass the savings of not going on mutual aid calls.”
He also touched on contracts with Washington and Marion townships.
“You are going to lose money on the services that go above fire-fighting,” Suever said. “Last year, if we would not have made EMS runs to Marion Township, we would have lost $33,921 in EMS transports over and above the fire contract. In Washington Township, we would have lost $22,100 in transports. You need to keep those contracts with the townships.”
Suever also asked why when a full-time firefighter was out on medical leave, the current chief didn’t “slip back” into shift work to fill those hours.
Safety Service Director Greg Berquist told The Herald that was illegal and grounds for a grievance from the bargaining unit and would have been very costly to the city in unfair labor practice fines.
“I have on last thing to say,” Suever said in closing, “If you can’t put meat and potatoes on the table at home, you don’t take the family to the movies. We are talking about laying off safety personnel and there are people in the recreation department working.”
Tim Honigford made a repeat appearance Monday evening. He started with a grievance about a list of questions his brother wanted to submit to Finance Committee Chair Joe Martz.
“My brother wanted to give Mr. Martz a list of questions and he refused to take them,” Honigford said. “At the last budget meeting, he said we could submit questions and they would be answered. I want to know why he wouldn’t take them.”
Martz addressed Honigford’s concern saying, “I did not refuse to take them, I said they needed to be give to the mayor or the safety service director. If you still have them, please give them to one of those gentleman.”
Honigford passed the questions to Berquist to be read during the Finance Committee meeting following the council meeting.
Honigford also questioned council’s stand on upcoming negotiations with the collective bargaining units for fire and police.
“Will the city seek concessions at these negotiations and can you give a total in cost savings you are looking for?” he asked.
Berquist said proposals have been discussed with department heads but nothing further can be discussed due to contract language with the two entities.
City Law Director Clayton Osting stepped in on this question.
“It is an ethics violation for council to participate in any way, shape or form in negotiations and that includes discussing terms, etc., here,” he said.
Resident Dan Grothause also addressed council, questioning information from the Finance Committee meeting on Aug. 26.
“At the last meeting when the water and sewer budgets were gone over, why didn’t we hear about the reductions from the production of water and the treatment of sewer from the loss of Reser’s?” he asked.
Council President Kim Riddell answered, saying those reductions in production were taken off but don’t come out of department budgets, they come off operations.
Grothause also wanted to know if any councilmen had asked for the last fire contract to see how much the overtime in the department was above what was in the contract. No one had.
“Not every person in town gets the paper or listens to the radio,” Grothause said in closing. “When you want elected, you go door-to-door. Why don’t you do that on these big issues? You have an opportunity to find what we all think. I know a lot of you guys are in your last term. Don’t be a ‘lame-duck’ council. Don’t wait for the next guy. Get something accomplished now.”
The next council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Monday.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:00 AM|