MECHANICSBURG – Village Council learned Monday that Mechanicsburg Fire & EMS continues to inch closer to a more reliable fleet of ambulances.
Currently, the department’s squads consist of a village-owned 1995 International and a 2007 Freightliner on loan from the Madison County Emergency Medical District.
Fire Chief Bob Keene reported during the Monday council meeting that the Freightliner has been decommissioned by Madison County and is being offered to Mechanicsburg with a deal expected to be finalized within the next few weeks.
The village’s issues with its two-squad fleet dates to January 2015 when its 1999 Ford squad was forced out of commission with engine and wiring issues. The department operated throughout the year with just one squad – the 1995 International.
At points throughout 2015, the department borrowed squads from the Madison County Emergency Medical District and the Urbana Fire Division due to problems with the International squad.
To start the process of rectifying the issue, council in late 2015 approved the purchase of a 2016 International Harvester 4300 chassis outfitted with a 170-inch patient module for $212,714 from McCoy Miller of Winter Park, Florida. To cover the majority of the cost of the squad, expected to be delivered during the first part of May, the department secured a $143,524 grant through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.
To make do until the new squad arrives, Keene said, the department has been borrowing the Freightliner from Madison County since February. It currently serves as the first squad out, while the 1995 International serves as the backup.
“It’s been nice having two squads,” he said. “Once we purchase (the Freightliner) and receive the new one, our oldest one will be a 2007, which will be real nice.”
To help cover the cost of pending acquisition of the Freightliner, which will continue to serve as the primary squad until the new 2016 International arrives, the village sold the 1999 Ford squad in January to Elite Ambulance Service, Cincinnati, for $4,149.
Once the new International arrives, Keene said, the village will be placing the old International squad up for sale per the requirements outlined in the grant agreement with the federal government.
Village becoming more transparent
Mayor Greg Kimball confirmed the village’s 2015 expenditures are now visible online at ohiocheckbook.com, an initiative started by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.
“So far what we have on there is all of 2015 (expenditures),” Kimball said. “All of our checks will now be online so everybody can see them.
“It’s just expenditures. It does not cover revenues,” he added.
Mechanicsburg joins the village of St. Paris, Goshen Township and Mad River Township as the fourth entity in Champaign County to take part in the venture, offered as a free service by the Office of the Ohio Treasurer.
In other business:
•Only village residents are invited to participate in the annual spring cleanup 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 30.
During the event, residents can dispose of solid waste by hauling it to Dumpsters located at the Street Department building on Mill Street. No hazardous waste or building material will be accepted.
“Volunteers are more than welcome,” Huggins-Davis said.
•The village will offer permit-free garage sales from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22-23 and April 29-30.
•To kick off the spring maintenance season, Huggins-Davis said, the plan is to have village streets cleaned during the first two weeks of May, weather permitting. Once the streets have been tended to, a company will be brought in to clean catch basins, she added.
•Cole Piatt was sworn in as a new officer with the Mechanicsburg Police Department.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.