The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

While the fate of a bill that would legalize the use of consumer grade fireworks in Ohio is unclear, one thing is certain; the bill drew ardent supporters and opponents during a hearing last week.

The bill soared through the Ohio Senate like a bottle rocket shortly after being introduced last month, but didn’t make it out of a House of Representatives committee hearing last Wednesday – the legislature’s final day in session of the year – for a floor vote.

Current law requires consumer grade fireworks purchased in Ohio to be transported out of state within 48 hours of a purchase and prohibits their use in the state.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Dave Burke (R- Marysville), said it would reflect major changes in the industry that have resulted in safer products and also enact a fee for the Ohio Fire Marshal’s office to conduct training programs and enforcement.

When he introduced the bill, Sen. Burke, whose district covers seven counties, including Sandusky and Seneca, said fireworks use has risen more than 600 percent since 1976 while the injury rate has dropped; from 38.3 reported injuries per 100,000 pounds of fireworks consumed to 6.1 injuries per 100,000 pounds in 2013.

Lake Township trustees want more information about costs and staffing at the Wood County sheriff’s dispatching office before deciding how to proceed with providing emergency dispatching service for residents when a current service contract expires.

After hearing a report Tuesday by Police Chief Mark Hummer on a proposal submitted by Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn, the trustees directed the chief to meet with Wood County commissioners to discuss county costs and personnel levels at the dispatching center in Bowling Green.

The township’s service contract with LifeStar expires at the end of March 2015.

In June, Sheriff Wasylyshyn submitted a proposal to provide the 24-hour service to the township for $65,210 a year plus a one-time “set-up” fee of $35,230 and $8,526 for software costs.

Chief Hummer Tuesday said the sheriff, at the chief’s request, submitted another proposal earlier this month. However, the second proposal was higher: $82,165 a year plus a set-up fee of $37,967 and an annual maintenance fee of $1,795.

Voters in the Genoa school district will likely see two levies on the May 2015 ballot.

The school board Monday took the preliminary steps for placing levies on the ballot, approving resolutions of necessity for the renewal of a 5-mill, 5-year operating issue and a new emergency levy that will generate an additional $1.025 million a year if passed.

The resolutions will be forwarded to the Ottawa County auditor for certification, said Bill Nye, district treasurer. He said the board will consider resolutions for actually placing the issues on the May ballot during its Jan. 14 organizational meeting.

District voters this year have twice rejected requests for additional tax revenue. A 4.99-mill, 5-year levy was defeated in May and an emergency issue that would have generated $800,000 annually was defeated last month.

Nye said with the loss of the emergency issue, the district has lost a year of collecting tax revenue since collections commence in the year following a levy’s passage.

Oregon City Council on Monday approved an agreement for services to be provided to seniors 60 years of age and older that will be funded by a 0.5 mill senior levy.

Administrator Mike Beazley said the agreement with the Oregon Senior Center, Inc., which operates Oregon’s current senior center on Bay Shore Road, is a “mechanism for contracting with the seniors to provide those services.”

“It also recognizes that during the year, we might find we may have to adjust those things as we work through it. “It may turn out that there’s more of a demand in some areas, and less of a demand in other areas. The contract anticipates that,” said Beazley.

Voters last year approved a five year levy to expand senior services. The city will collect $210,000 each year in revenue from the levy.

Beazley said the contract provides a responsible way to draw down the levy funds with a transparent reporting system so that the finance department is satisfied that the services that are being delivered and the public can have “a clear view of what’s taking place.”

City council voted in favor of rehiring Jim Gilmore, the commissioner of Building and Zoning, for the next three years after he retired from the position earlier this month.

Council voted 5-2 in favor of the reappointment.

Mayor Mike Seferian had made the request to rehire Gilmore at the last council meeting due to his experience, but some on council wanted more time to think about it because they were unaware it would be on the agenda until the day of the meeting. There were also concerns Gilmore would be “double-dipping,” by getting his pension and an annual full-time salary, though the city has rehired others who had retired.

Seferian had called Gilmore’s retirement “sudden,” but said it was prompted by “some changes in the benefit package” that the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) provides.

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