Donations help trustees acquire new fire, maintenance equipment
The Plain Township trustees on March 20 accepted donations from two local businesses that will help the township obtain equipment for the fire department and maintenance department.
Fire Chief John Hoovler said a $13,000 donation from Discover Financial Services will be used to purchase the department's second LUCAS device, a machine that provides mechanical chest compression for CPR.
"This will be the second one we've purchased," Hoovler said. "We carry one in Medic 1 (an ambulance), and we'll put one in the battalion chief's car so that if Medic 1 is busy we will have another in the car and if we have a (cardiac) arrest, the battalion chief can respond with the LUCAS device."
Hoovler said the department will order the equipment in the next 30 days.
The township maintenance department will receive a boost from JD Equipment, a John Deere dealer that is on track to open in June in the Zarley Industrial Park on Johnstown Road, when it trades in three old mowers for new models with a three-year warranty.
"They are opening a new store in New Albany and contacted our maintenance department," Township Administrator Ben Collins said. "We gave mowers that have been through four seasons, are out of warranty and are going to need maintenance. They are halfway through life cycle."
Collins said JD Equipment has offered to trade the three mowers for three comparable pieces at no cost to the township. Two are zero-turn, standing mowers; the other is a zero-turn seated mower.
"The township is able to trade in four-year-old mowers that are out of warranty for new, comparable equipment that will have a three-year warranty for no cost," Collins said. "That's three years of use for free, and you can't pass that up."
In other business March 20, the trustees tabled a resolution to pay a higher pension contribution for local firefighters.
A new state law will increase employee contributions to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund by 0.75 percent each year for the next three years. The changes were approved in September as part of Ohio Senate Bill 343, according to the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund website. Active firefighters' contribution rates will increase from 10 percent to 12.25 percent.
Plain Township Fiscal Officer Bud Zappitelli said the township has paid the firefighters' entire pension contributions as a benefit, sometimes in lieu of raises. He estimated the increase would cost $20,000 annually.
Hoovler and Collins said they would provide trustees with more information on the impact of the increased pension payments at a future meeting.
"Total compensation for Plain Township firefighters, including health insurance and pension (payments), is below average in Franklin County," Collins said. "We look at it every other year."
Collins said the township pays health-insurance costs and the pension contributions, which helps keep salary costs down.
"When you pay someone wages, you have to pay the employee's required portion of their pension, which is based on their wages; you pay workers' (compensation), which is based on their wages; and the required federal withholding, which is based on wages," Collins said.