MILLBURY - The mystery of what agency will be dispatching for Lake Township emergency services next year has deepened.
At Tuesday's meeting, the trustees heard a presentation by Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn about how switching to his agency for dispatching could save the township tens of thousands of dollars.
The township's contract with Lifestar expires in April. The township has also been exploring regional dispatching with Northwood, Rossford, Millbury and Walbridge.
Wasylyshyn said he expects county dispatching for Lake Township to cost $75,000 the first year and $65,000 the next, minus some one-time charges.
Lake Township Police Chief Mark Hummer said the township pays $300,000 to Lifestar, with Rossford contributing $120,000 and Walbridge, $50,000.
Three dispatchers and one supervisor work 12-hour shifts for the county. They are trained to give emergency instructions, such as how to help a choking child or stop bleeding, while personnel are on the way, the sheriff said. There are also shared-data benefits. The county additionally receives all 911 cell phone calls through its dispatching center.
After the presentation, Fire Chief Bruce Moritz peppered the sheriff with some technical questions about service, radios, channels and backup.
"There's more to this than just a switch," he said. "I'm passionate about my service."
After the meeting, Hummer said service would be a key to Lake Township joining the county - not just financial savings.
"Cost is not the primary factor for Lake Township," he said.
The savings, however, can't be ignored, Hummer said.
"It's hard to dismiss $100,000 in savings," he said. "I've got to look at it and be sure he can do what he says he can do."
Hummer also said he was disappointed that the sheriff turned down an invitation five years ago to work as a regional partner with some northern entities, including the township, for dispatching.
"He's offering the services as sheriff, not as a regional partner," Hummer said.
The township, Northwood, Walbridge, Rossford and Millbury have received about $85,000 in state grants over the last two years to study regional dispatching.
Late last year, Hummer made presentations to the entities about joining, but no decisions have been made. The estimated cost for all of the entities to dispatch together was $635,000; that did not included a facility renovation.
Wasylyshyn recently gave the same presentation to Rossford, which is considering leaving Lake Township for the sheriff's dispatching.
If Rossford and Lake Township join the county, the sheriff will add two more dispatchers to the 16 full-time employees. Wood County currently dispatches for 18 fire departments, 10 police departments and nine ambulance districts.
Trustee Richard Welling thanked Wasylyshyn for his "impressive" presentation. Trustee Melanie Bowen, who spearheaded the township's drive to take over dispatching service from Walbridge 10 years ago, was absent.
Also at the meeting, the trustees:
• Voted to purchase road repair materials, including 20 gallons of asphalt cleaner from Rhomar, Springfield, Missouri, and 826 gallons of liquid asphalt for $1,528 from Asphalt Materials Inc., Oregon.
• Approved sending three firefighters to EMT training at Owens Center for Emergency Preparedness for $2,850.
• Hired Pneu-Matic Engineering for maintenance and sampling for the fire department's air wagon for $1,358.
• Heard from road supervisor Dan McLargin that the township has been awarded a $140,000 Ohio Department of Transportation grant for concrete replacement on Libbey Road in 2015.
• Decided to apply for three grants from the Wood County Park District. They are for six garbage cans and a playground climber for Fireside Park, a message center and two children's activity panels for a play area for handicap accessibility for Moline Meadows Park, and two umbrella-style structures for Friendship Park.
• Accepted the donation of a swing for Friendship Park from Lake Grange 2205.
• Accepted the resignation of firefighter John Hart, who is moving out of the area.
• Heard from resident Cheryl Tanner, who complained about the "constant" open burning in the Waltham road area.
• Heard department reports for May. Police made 11 arrests and issued 14 citations; Rossford had 366 calls for service, Lake had 324, Walbridge had 134 and Millbury had six. The fire department had 103 calls and EMS had 97 calls. The cemetery had 11 burials. Zoning issued 16 permits.