Wednesday, February 28, 2018 (Brookville Star) - Plea made for passage of Clay fire levy:

(by Brookville Star Contributing Writer Kay Dawson)


BROOKVILLE - Brookville Mayor Dave Seagraves and City Manager Gary Burkholder both spoke very passionately about he need for passing the upcoming fire levies in Clay Township, as well as speaking very candidly in addressing what they thought was a negative information campaign being conducted locally.

Seagraves gave his remarks at the Feb. 20 Brookville council meeting.

"I want to make sure we are clear on this," Seagraves said.

He asked Brookville Fire Chief Ron Fletcher to speak on how the levy funds are disbursed.

Fletcher said that Brookville receives 60 percent of the funds, while Phillipsburg, received 35 percent and Verona receives five percent.

Fletcher said there is no "perfect way" to split the revenues, but the percentage of the splits have been done over a very lengthy period of time.

He called the fire partners with Brookville in providing fire and EMS service to Clay Township, "Very important to Brookville," and that he does not want to see those two other departments fail if the levy gets defeated.

Burkholder said that the "jurisdictional boundaries (in Clay Township) have been changed to make sense," and that the levy request "is to support our strategic partners" in fire service in the township, as well as helping with costs for Brookville Fire Department.

"We have people campaigning to defeat this need based on false information," Burkholder said. "Public safety is one of the main responsibilities of us a public officials.

"We are trying to do the best we can to get the information out on the needs for the levy," added Burkholder.

Chief Fletcher addressed one of the rumors floating that the city has purchased an aerial ladder truck.

"We currently do not have a facility to support having  a ladder truck, it would have to sit outside and this not acceptable," Fletcher said. "We need this levy to pass so we can save some money in order to purchased big ticket items in the future."

Fletcher also addressed questions about the need for sleeping quarters a the fire station under construction on Upper Lewisburg-Salem Road.

"We don't want our firefighters and EMS personnel providing care fatigued," he said. "Our people work 12 to 36 hours straight and we have to have accommodations for them to rest and sleep in order for them to do their work."

Seagraves spoke to the topic of transparency, something that citizen's groups have asked from city officials.

"We are doing the very best we can to do what is best for this community," Seagraves said. "There is nothing to hide."

He told those gathered at the Feb. 20 meeting "If you have any questions or concerns let us know."

Council member Anne Kirklin said that working together as a team does not mean that all council members will agree with everything.

"Working together as a team does not mean we will always agree," Kirklin said. "But we have respect for each other and we make decisions based on facts.

"As much as ewe need to be transparent it is important for the citizens to be transparent as well," she added.

Burkholder addressed one last point before the meeting moved on, and that is a comment being put out that the city is bankrupt.

"There are accusations that the council is overspending and the city bankrupt," Burkholder said. "If the city is bankrupt we would not have cash reserves in our budget and we ended the 2017 year with a $2.2 million carryover. Enough lies are enough lies and they hurting this community."

Seagraves took an opportunity to defend the job that Burkholder has done for the city in his two plus years on the job as city manager.

"He (Burkholder) works at our (mayor and council) pleasure," Seagraves said. "We want these changes."

"Another thing, Gary lives here (in Brookville) and he has since day one," Seagraves added. "He goes to Columbus on the weekends but if we need he responds to our needs."

"Gary has done a tremendous job, but he is doing what his is being told to do by us (mayor and council)," Seagraves said.

In business at the Feb. 20 meeting Don Cordes and Jessi Sievers were appointed to serve open seats on the Brookville Planning Commission.

Third readings of ordinances and resolutions to authorize the city manager to dispose of surplus public property, to levy assessments for delinquent utility bills and to levy assessments for construction of curbs, etc on Market Street were all approved.

The second reading for levying assessments for curbs, etc. on Crosswell Avenue and Vine Street was approved.

Council adopted the first reading, and pass it in emergency fashion for adopting sections of the Ohio Revised Code as it pertains to new municipal income tax collection procedure was approved.

This was done under advisement of Law Director Rod Stephan who noted that city is among many in the state who are engaged in pending litigation against the State of Ohio regards to these new procedures.

He said that if the suit fails the city would be in compliance with the new state codes.

Council also approved entering into a three-year contract with the Montgomery County Soil and Water District for storm water assistance and council approved authorizing a letter of support be sent to the city of Dayton in its procedures to safeguard its drinking water well fields.

Brookville Park Board member Carolyn Haney gave a report about some maintenance issues pending at the Brookville Community Theatre.

"We do have some major issues," she said. "We have a nice asset for the community and I don't think we want it to deteriorate."

Seagrave echoed Hane's comments.

"It would be foolish on our part to turn our heads about the maintenance," said Seagraves.

The next meeting of Brookville City Council will be Tuesday, March 6, at 7:30PM in Council Chambers at the Brookville Municipal Building, 301 Sycamore St., Brookville.