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Prevention car still cause for trouble in FT
Franklin Township Trustees again found themselves in a dispute over the fire prevention officer’s car at their Jan. 8 meeting.
Chairman Tim Guyton and Vice-chairman Don Cook were surprised when Fire Chief Richard Howard reported he received a claims check for approximately $2,400 resulting from the car hitting a deer on Dec 8.
“I did not know that a claim was settled. And I’m going to sit here and tell you like I said earlier that I thought we were fixing this damage in-house, out of pocket,” said Guyton.
“And that’s not what I found out tonight.”
Both Guyton and Cook said they realized that Howard had reported the incident to the insurance company but did not realize this also started a claim that might affect the township’s insurance rates.
According to Howard, calling the loss in as a claim was standard procedure in the past.
“It’s nothing that we never dealt with. When my car got totaled in 2004, I think we only got $2,200 and it wasn’t an issue with the board and that one got totaled,” said Howard.
Cook said the situation was different in 2004 because Howard was not “at-fault” in that accident and he fears the Dec. 8 loss may be considered “at-fault.”
Guyton said his concerns stemmed from the past controversy of allowing the fire prevention/investigation officer to drive the vehicle back and forth from his home in Zanesville. Also, Guyton said he was advised the car is drivable.
“I saw the vehicle. It had duct-tape on the side. Look a little hokey? Yeah. I was assured its drivable, safe, all that good stuff,” said Guyton.
Howard disagreed the car is drivable for the long-term, stating there is body damage and front end damage to the grill from the deer impact.
In addition, Howard said the damaged vehicle needed $900 dollars worth of repairs prior to the accident. The amount to fix the car is $2,900 and the check from the insurance was $2,400, which did not include the deductible, so the township may have to pay an additional $1,400 to $1,500 to get the car fixed.
Howard also believed fixing it would waste money and the car would do damage to the township’s image.
“What do you want me to do because it’s been in my budget to get it replaced? Like I said, we can get a car that’s representative of Franklin Township,” said Howard.
“Because he goes to all the businesses, he goes to township related...meetings; and if that’s how the township wants represented, so be it. Doesn’t hurt my feelings.”
Trustee Paul Johnson agreed that having a damaged car might hurt the township’s image.
“I agree with the chief that we represent Franklin Township and they don’t have to be new vehicles, but I don’t know if we want to be driving vehicles around in cars that are all dented up and everything,” said Johnson.
The trustees asked Howard to check with the insurance company to research how returning the check versus keeping the check affects the township insurance rates and get prices on cars for the next township meeting so trustees will then decide how to proceed.
Ohio Utilities Protection Service
Road Maintenance and Building Supervisor Jim Stevens said the township is now a member of Ohio Utilities Protection Service (OUPS), which resulted from a recent experience with an exposed gas line.
Stevens said OUPS requires entities and residents to call 48 hours before any digging so they can mark utility lines for safety reasons.
Guyton said one of the bonus features of OUPS is they contact the township whenever they are contacted by anyone to mark utility lines for projects. People will contact OUPS, but they do not always contact the township to get a building permit for their project.
Now as a member of OUPS the township will know about more of these projects and be able to charge them for the permits and more accurately access property taxes.
New meeting times
In other township news, trustees voted to temporarily change the meeting times to 7 p.m. every other Thursday evening until at least June 30 in the hopes of attracting more attendees.
Resident Mary Nemeyer agreed with this change.
“At 5:30, some people aren’t home from work yet. It would make it a lot more convenient and maybe more people could attend the meetings, which would be a good thing,” said Nemeyer.
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