FREDERICKSBURG -- With the huge ash tree in the town's park now just a fading memory, Fredericksburg Village Council on Monday moved on and turned its attention to yet another tree dilemma.
Council heard a presentation by Kirby Reed, Ashland University fan Jimmy Garbash holds up a sign as he cheers during the college women's basketball game of the village's board of public affairs, regarding the ongoing problems with a wooded area that surrounds Fredericksburg's sewer plant. Reed said trees have for years been falling onto the chain link fence that surrounds the plant, and have often narrowly missed banks of transformers, electrical lines and other infrastructure critical to the plant's operation.
Reed noted that if a tree or trees would strike any of this vulnerable equipment, "We'd be out of business."
The problem, Reed said, is that all the land outside of the fence and surrounding the sewer plant is owned by Berlin Mineral and Holmes Limestone. He said that small "scrub trees" that came up on that land voluntarily years ago have now become 50 feet tall and endanger plant operations.
Years ago, Reed contended, the village should have adopted a policy of doing an assessment every five years and routinely taken down trees that could cause damage. But the BPA now recommended a proactive approach which would take down all trees around the plant, pushing back the wooded area to the point that it would be at least 15 years until any trees would again be within falling distance of the sewer plant.
Reed said that Berlin Mineral and Holmes Limestone were OK with the plan, provided the site was cleared of fallen trees.
According to Reed, two bids for the tree-clearing project were received, one for $24,000 from Kidron Tree Service and one for $34,704 from Rogue Tree Service.
Council voted unanimously to allow the BPA to spend up to $35,000 for the tree-clearing project, selecting whatever contractor it wants. The BPA plans to make that decision later this week.
BPA member Joe Arthur said the BPA would also explore whether some of the harvested trees could be sold by the village to help recoup the cost of taking them down, or whether the landowners would take those proceeds.
Council also took action to repeal the annexation to the village of two parcels to be used for the coming construction of the Greenfield Dairy.
Village solicitor Chris Oehl explained that village council and the Wayne County Commissioners had both signed off on the annexations, and the paperwork had reached the county map office before somebody writing the metes and bounds of the property realized that the permanent number of one of the parcels in question was actually in Paint Township rather than Franklin Township.
Because of that, the annexation of the parcel had to re-voted, which it was, unanimously.
Council member Arnold Schrock reported that the South Central Fire Department is planning to replace the now 10-year-old firefighters' gear -- including air packs -- at a cost of $100,000 for 17 sets, is working to get a three-fourths grant from Workman's Compensation for a self-loading ambulance gurney that costs $40,000, will soon replace one of its trucks. Schrock said the firefighters have named Josh Martell to be the new fire chief, with Shawn McKelvey to assistant chief.
Schrock told council how impressed he is with the volunteer firefighters' commitment to their job.
"We can sleep well at night in this village knowing we have excellent service in that department," said Schrock, adding, "It may be a volunteer department, but they take it seriously."
Council also voted unanimously to pass the village's financial appropriations for 2017.
Reporter Paul Locher can be reached at 330-682-2055.
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.