New year, new goals

Perkins Township officials share their plans for 2014.
Andy Ouriel
Jan 21, 2014
A new year means re-examining and proposing new goals for Perkins Township officials.

The Register, via email, asked the township’s elected officials and department heads to explain what they want to achieve in 2014.

The officials listed their goals and explained how they plan to achieve them:

Trustee Jeff Ferrell
Goal No. 1: Ensuring fiscal responsibility.

• Background: Cuts to local government funds paired with nose-diving property values created $1 million less in revenues for the township entering 2013. This forced trustees to eliminate seven positions, including forcing six layoffs for employees in the police and highway departments.

• Comment: “In 2013, it was a very challenging year for Perkins Township. The trustees will have to work very hard to continue to control costs. (I want to) continue to develop a budget process that provides the ability to evaluate cost and benefits”

Goal No. 2: Developing Strickfaden Park.

• Background: The park on Bell Avenue recently obtained a $150,000 state grant to help pay for a 1.25-mile trail around its perimeter. About $70,000 in park funds, previously fronted by township taxpayers, should cover the remaining balance.

• Comment: “This year, the township will be constructing over a mile of paved trails throughout Strickfaden Park”

Goal No. 3: Devising a plan to pave township roads. q Background: A budget pinch forced township trustees to halt any road repairs in 2012 or 2013.

• Comment: “I want to develop a short-term and long-range plan on what streets to repair or replace and develop a short-term and long-range plan for funding the repair or replacement township roads. Hopefully, the township will resurface Strub Road from Campbell Street to Old Railroad Road”

Fiscal officer Jane Gildenmeister
Goal No. 1: Collaborating with other township officials.

• Background: Officials made cohesion among co-workers a priority a few years ago, when they spent $20,000 in taxpayer dollars for Bowling Green State University professionals to create classes based on building trust and handling conflict situations.

• Comment: “My top priority is to continue exploring and implementing new ways and means to properly transact and efficiently file township proceedings and financial business”

Goal No. 2: Balancing the budget.

• Background: Officials spend about $8.5 million for several township-based services, including police, fire, roads and park services.

• Comment: “(I want to) ensure the bills get paid on time”

Goal No. 3: Acting professionally toward residents needing help.

• Comment: “(I want to) enable professional, courteous and reliable service to our residents and the general public”

Note: Township trustees Tim Coleman and Jim Lang only provided a list of goals with little to no explanation on why they’re important or how they’ll accomplish them.

Fire Chief Keith Wohlever
Goal No. 1: Entrusting part-time firefighters with more responsibilities, such as helping to complete fire safety inspections at area businesses. 

• Background: Perkins officials recently committed more resources for part-time firefighters by increasing their hourly salaries — the first such occurrence in six years — by 50 cents. The 23 or so part-time firefighters employed as of late October made anywhere from $8.50 to $10.50 per hour. A higher salary means more responsibilities.

• Comment: “That gets us 97 percent or more in our business, which we couldn’t do with just our full-time personnel. Anytime we can prevent fires from happening, that’s great. Plus we are preventing additional taxpayer dollars from being spent”

Goal No. 2: Expanding community CPR training program by 25 percent.

• Background: In 2013, the department trained 186 people in CPR.

• Comment: “Our on-scene response time is between 3 minutes to 4 minutes, and brains start to die in 6 minutes. The more people we can get doing CPR before we get there, that will increase the probability we (save someone)”

Goal No. 3: Continuing home safety inspections and residential key lock programs by purchasing more storage devices through grants.

• Background: The fire department offers free home inspections to any resident living in Perkins, ensuring people are safe.

• Comment: “This helps decrease our response times and gets us to the patient quicker, instead of breaking in. We want to be proactive in preventing fires”

Police Chief Ken Klamar
Goal No. 1: Replenishing staffing levels.

• Background: Budget restraints a year ago forced Perkins police commanders to reduce full-time police personnel from 20 to 16. They later recalled two officers and presently employ 18 full-time officers. The two lost positions collectively cost about $100,000 to fund.

• Comment: “We are down two positions due to budget cuts that were made in 2013. We are working on the 2014 budget currently, and I have budgeted for those two fulltime positions to be replaced”

Goal No. 2: Restoring services and programs either suspended or decreased because of budget cuts. 

• Background: Commanders scaled back on community activities and certain response calls as a result of fewer officers patrolling.

• Comment: “We stopped unlocking cars, handling civil complaints and responding to private-property crashes in 2013 due to staffing levels. Once our levels are restored, I’m looking to bring back our service levels to the community. We also stopped community-oriented programs in 2013, such as Triad and Camp PRIDE. These programs will be restored in 2014”

Goal No. 3: Encouraging more proactive work from officers. 

• Comment: “By getting our staffing levels back up, officers will be able to spend more time being proactive versus reactive. On the patrol side, proactive policing will be directed at reducing the number of serous and fatal traffic crashes in Perkins Township. This will be done by focusing on circumstances that lead to traffic crashes, such as aggressive or distracted driving, speed, seat belt use and impaired driving. On the investigative side, I want to be more proactive with retail and property crime. Both of these crimes are prevalent in Perkins Township, and many of these crimes have a direct link to narcotic use”

Note: Township chief building official John Curtis and a representative from the highway department failed to respond.

Comments

Erie County Resident

RE: "Trustee Jeff Ferrell
Goal No. 1: Ensuring fiscal responsibility."

Ok, so what else do you have up your sleeve that is going to cost residents a few million dollars this time?
Building that stupid looking township thing wasn't what you call "fiscally responsible" now was it.