Fairfield Township house may be used for fire practice

COLUMBIANA — A home that has sat vacant for the last 12 years may be used for fire training in the future.

Fairfield Township road supervisor Melvin Miller told township trustees that week that Columbiana Fire Chief Rick Garrity expressed an interest in the home located on property next to the township’s administrative building.

The township purchased the property in 2007 for the purpose of installing a dry fire hydrant, which was done. The home on the property has been vacant that entire time.

The township contracts with Columbiana for fire protection services and Miller said that Garrity would like to use the home for fire training.

Trustees considered selling the home, but are open to the idea of using it for fire training instead.

Trustee Barry Miner recalled that the township used fire levy money to purchase the property back in 2007.

Trustee Robert Hum said if the property was sold any money from the sale would likely go back into the fire levy fund.

“I don’t know if we would get much for it,” Hum added.

Township voters last renewed the fire levy in 2017.

Trustee Barry Miner said he would like to see a presentation from Garrity.

Hum said his only concern with allowing the fire training was whether it would be the village’s responsibility to fill the basement, notify the county health department and cap the well and abandon the septic system. Miller said the fire department would perform that work.

On another matter, Hum mentioned he would like to supplement the fire contract with money the township receives through Comcast’s video service provider fees.

Comcast is asking the village to approve a new agreement that does away with the former franchise fees and instead implements the video service provider fees.

Fees are charged by Comcast to the customers, reflected on their bill, and then paid to the municipality.

Comcast is making the change as a result of the 2007 Ohio franchise law. Comcast didn’t implement the change until recently because the existing contracts had not yet expired.

Comcast is seeking the same agreement with other municipalities in the county, including East Palestine and Columbiana.

Municipalities have the option under the new agreement to set the video service provider fees at zero to 5 percent. The agreement also calls for video service provider fees to be implemented for other video service providers in those areas.

Fairfield Township was already receiving 5 percent through its contract and Hum recommended that remain the same for the new contract, known as a video service provider agreement.

He said the fees bring in about $30,000 a year for the township.

Hum said he would write the proposal as a resolution for a vote at another meeting.