ONLINE EXCLUSIVE - Willard receives grant for pumper/tanker truck

Aaron Krause • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:05 PM

WILLARD The city has received a federal grant that will pay for 95 percent of the costs for a new pumper/tanker truck for the fire department.

City Manager Brian Humphress said the city will have to provide a match of $8,750 toward the purchase. But, since the truck will be used outside the city, surrounding townships will need to contribute $2,975 of that amount. That will leave the city to pay $5,775 for the truck.

"Fire chief Rich Myers is to be congratulated on his work to obtain this funding," Humphress told council Monday night.

In other business, the city is hoping to continue collecting a franchise fee from Time Warner Cable.

In 2007, the Ohio Legislature passed Senate Bill 117, which rescinded most of the authority communities had to regulate local cable television franchises. Now, as soon as existing franchises expire, the cable company can get a franchise agreement directly from state officials; cities can no longer issue their own.

Willard's franchise agreement with Time Warner, which has expired, brought in more than $38,000 last year, Humphress said.

Senate Bill 117 still requires the cable company to collect and pay franchise fees to local governments, as long as they pass ordinances to that effect.

Council plans to vote on such an ordinance at its next council meeting at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22. The franchise fee is passed on by the cable company to the their subscribers. If council does not pass legislation, subscribers won't have to pay that fee. However, money collected from the franchise fee goes toward the city's general fund, most of which goes toward the police and fire department. Humphress said the franchise fee has been a revenue source for the city for the last 25 to 30 years.

The Willard Community Diversity Council will hold a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 20 in the commons area at Willard High School. Activities will include a pancake breakfast, presentations on the life of and goals of King, a reenactment of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, music, displays by local school children and booths. The event is free, although donations will be accepted.

Also, the Willard Moose Firelands Lodge 2153 has donated nearly $256 to the city's fire department. Council voted unanimously to accept the donation and designate it to the Fire Equipment Fund. To date, the lodge has donated more than $85,000, Humphress said.

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