Fire Department Issues Dominate Council Meeting
Windham – Windham Village Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on January 22, 1013 with all council members, mayor, fiscal officer and village solicitor in attendance. Council approved the monthly expenditures and the bank reconciliation. The resolution R-2013-4 authorizing the village to enter in to an agreement with Garrettsville for dispatching services was questioned by council members. Two of the members thought council should have communicated with the WVFD Joint Fire Board on the issue before making a decision. (According to the resolution the village made with the township in 2009, Article XX under Dispatching says “The Village of Windham agrees to provide dispatch services to the WVFD Joint Fire District free-of-charge for the period of ten years and renewable year-to–year thereafter.”) R-2013-4 Resolution on dispatching was made a first read, after some members objected to it.
This brought up questions on why council didn’t officially notify the fire district of the plan to change dispatching and why the village hasn’t paid the $3500 due last July to the fire board as they had agreed to do when the joint district was created. (Article XXIV under Additional Compensation states that “Under this Joint Resolution set forth the Village of Windham has agreed to pay an annual amount of $7000 for five years to the Joint Fire District commencing on January 1, 2010 and ending on December 31, 2014. The bi-annual amount of $3500 will be paid on January 31st and July 31st of each year.”) The mayor said that they do not have a contract with the Fire Board and Councilwoman Debbie Blewitt presented the resolution that they all signed when the district was created. She then pointed out the paragraph on “Additional Compensation” the mayor said it was as long as the village could afford to do so. [Councilwomen Debbie] Blewitt said that it doesn’t say that. Blewitt believes that it is an agreement that they made and council needs to honor it. The mayor disagrees; he said they do not have a contract with the WVFD Joint Fire District, therefore they do not have to provide dispatching or pay the $7000 annually. The agreement was made through a resolution between the village and the township trustees to create the joint fire district. The mayor said he has tried to talk to the fire board and they (fire board) claim they don’t have a contract with the village; and that the village needs to address the issue with the township since the resolution was drawn up between them. The mayor says no contract, no payment. The mayor claims he has invited the fire board members to a safety meeting and they have not responded. He claims the chief has invited them and Councilwoman Blewitt invited them at the January meeting. A call to former chairperson of the fire board, Dann Timmons, on the invitation to the meetings, Timmons said that they had not received any invitation from the village until January 15, 2013 meeting when Blewitt requested that the board attend the council’s safety meeting in February. He stated that although she invited them to attend a safety meeting, she was unable to confirm what the meeting was about.
In other business, council accepted the resignation of dispatcher Karen Bernard effective Feb.1, 2013; they accepted a swing set donation from the Windham Park Restoration Committee and issued the Oath of Office to their new K-9 Officer Ricon. Ricon is eight month old dog and who has completed drug training and is undergoing additional training. Ricon is the partner of Officer Cpl. Jamie Price.