West Side News

Prairie Township set to monitor speeders

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Prairie Township representatives have met with members of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office in anticipation of obtaining a permanent speed trailer for the township.

Trustees informed residents at their Oct. 31 meeting that the township will obtain a speed trailer within the next few days.Trustees approved the purchase on Aug. 8 for the price of $9,635.

Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said the hope is that the device will not only deter speeders in targeted areas, but also will help trustees determine if traffic-calming devices are needed in certain neighborhoods.

Trustee Steve Kennedy said the township will work closely with the sheriff's office in an effort to crack down on speeders. The speed trailer will be able to take pictures of vehicles and their license plates while also determining how fast the vehicle was going, Kennedy said.

"We need to decide how we are going to use the information we obtain," he said. "We will place the speed trailer based on residents' complaints."

The township is not legally allowed to information obtained by the speed trailer and cite residents for traffic violations, Kennedy said. However, it may be able to post some of the information on the township website to educated residents about where the most speeding is taking place.

"We can post that information on our website," he said. "We could feature a speeder of the week. I think parents would want to know if their kids are speeding."

The township road department w ill be responsible for moving the trailer from one location to the next, based on residents' complaints, trustees said.

"This is also a way to determine the need for a calming policy," Hatmaker said. "It is a way to determine the need for those measures, when requested."

Traffic-calming devices are currently being considered for portions of Beacon Hill and Woodlawn Avenue, Hatmaker said.

In other business, trustees tabled two items concerning the purchase of new computer software and a new permit fee structure for the Prairie Township Fire Department.

Fire Chief Steve Feustel said the new software would allow the department to streamline its information with the zoning department, making both more efficient. The new software also contains the entire Ohio Fire Code, something the current software does not have, Feustel said.

"What we are looking at would not put a burden on the fire budget," he said.

The new software would cost $4,792 with an annual fee of $1,196 for maintenance and updates, Feustel said.

The fire department also wants to revamp its permit fee structure and in doing so, the new collection would offset the annual fee and purchase price of the software, he said.

Feustel said he obtained permit fee schedules from Jackson, Norwich and Franklin townships and wants to structure Prairie Township's in the same manner.

"Before, it was one set fee," Feustel said. "Now some fees are lower and some are higher, based on how many hours it takes to do a job. This would start after Jan. 1."

The flat fee was set at $75, Feustel said. The revamped fee structure can range anywhere from $50 to $200 for the installation of an automatic sprinkler system, he said.

Kennedy said he had an issue with the new software because of the cost of the annual fee. He also said he never received information on the other townships' permit fee structure and would like to see that as well before casting a vote.

"It looks to me like you have increased fees to support the cost of the software," Kennedy said. "I would like the chance to dig into this further."

Feustel said the new software would give the township the opportunity to capture a lot of information at once that would benefit both the zoning and fire departments, something the township has been working toward.

"It gives us a net of information that falls in one place," he said. "It gives us a greater ability to monitor the township with more eyes on it and more than just one inspection."

Trustee Ron Ball said he didn't have a problem with either items, but if the board is not ready, then both items should be tabled.

Feustel said it is still his hope that the software will be purchased and in operation by Jan. 1.

The next Prairie Township trustees' meeting will start at 7 p.m. Nov. 14 at township hall, 23 Maple Drive.

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