Thursday, Oct 18, 2018
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Police & Fire

Bedford Township holds off on replacing fire chief

Trustee wants job posting first; tree removal an issue


TEMPERANCE — Bedford Township remains without an interim fire chief after the board deferred action on the appointment at its regular meeting last week.

The consent agenda part of the meeting, which is reserved for routine, noncontroversial matters, included a recommendation from Supervisor Greg Stewart that the board name Assistant Fire Chief Jim Neorr to the interim position effective April 1. He would replace Chief John Bofia, who is retiring as chief after more than 40 years with the township department.

The item was pulled from the agenda at the request of Trustee Nancy Tienvieri, who said she did not want to vote on an appointment to a paid position without discussion. She said the position should have been posted, pursuant to township policy.

Mr. Stewart said the pay and hours for the position had not been settled and agreed the matter should be tabled. He said the appointment was on the consent agenda because he had wanted it to be disposed of in a timely manner.

In other action, the board unanimously declined to spend $600 as the township’s share of the cost of removing a tree on Smith Road west of Lewis Avenue. The $1,200 cost of the tree removal was to be shared equally with the Monroe County Road Commission, at the commission’s request.

Board members, however, were wary, fearing that paying would set a bad precedent.

The willow tree in question poses no danger to drivers, but its roots plug a drainage tile on the south side of Smith, causing flooding. The road commission wants to remove the plugged section of pipe and clean or replace it to restore proper drainage. The agency does not want to do this before removing the tree. Whether the tree is in a public right-of-way is unknown.

Board members said they did not believe the tree was a township responsibility.

“This is a maintenance problem,” Trustee Larry O’Dell said. “By law, they should do it. I don’t want to give them a helping hand.”

Mr. Stewart said the money was not the issue. Agreeing to pay could open the door to more cost-sharing for projects that were the road commission’s responsibility.

Trustee Rick Steiner agreed. “If we help clear up one issue, where does the next maintenance issue start?”

The board did approve spending $46,370 as the township’s share of replacing the Minx Road Bridge across Little Lake Drain. Erie Township will pay the same amount. The Monroe County drain commissioner will cover other related costs.

Board members agreed that the small, single-lane bridge was in terrible condition and a potential safety hazard. The new box culvert crossing will have two lanes.

The board also discussed whether the township needs an ordinance providing for inspection of rental properties. Ms. Tienvieri said Bedford should have some mechanism for helping renters whose dwellings are unsafe because of fire or electrical code violations.

But a succession of landlords disagreed. Michael Sprott, a real estate agency broker/owner, said such an ordinance was unneeded and would discourage building in the township. He said the township could protect tenants by getting a judgment against bad landlords and instructing tenants to put their rent payments in escrow.

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