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COG looking to share equipment, personnel

HOWLAND — The Trumbull County Council of Governments Executive Board will reach out to the different townships, villages and cities to discuss sharing equipment and personnel, and jointly purchase items as a way to save money.

COG board members met Wednesday in Howland, where Howland Trustee James LaPolla said letters can be sent to the different communities to see if they have equipment they would be willing to share with other communities.

“There may be some equipment that can be shared, or communities could jointly purchase equipment and share it. We can at least see who has equipment they are willing to share,” LaPolla said.

LaPolla said at the Sept. 9 COG meeting, representatives from different communities will come together to discuss what may be needed, such as equipment for road work. He said the communities, including new member Orangeville will come together, likely via Zoom.

Brookfield Trustee Gary Lees said sharing and jointly purchasing equipment can be discussed, as well as possibly sharing of workers. However, that may not be possible because of union contracts.

Brookfield road supervisor Jamie Fredenburg said sharing personnel will be difficult to do because some communities, such as Brookfield, already have limited staff and smaller departments, while larger communities, like Howland and Liberty, have more personnel.

“Each township needs to pave roads or cut trees down. The bigger townships could handle the loss of one person, but the smaller ones would not be able to. Brookfield has four road workers, so if we lose one, we are left with only three or less if someone is off sick. That will be hard to coordinate. It may work for big projects in one township where different communities could provide one worker each,” Fredenburg said.

He said if a large projects need done in one community, perhaps other townships could work out a way to share staff. Fredenburg said sharing a mechanic among three or four townships could be possible, with each community sharing the wages.

Fredenburg also said sharing lawn-cutting equipment, road sweepers, graders, storm-sewer cleaning trucks and other equipment could be shared among several communities.

“A lot of smaller communities can’t afford to buy all this equipment. Some of the larger berm mowers are expensive and many communities can’t afford them, but if five townships come together, each could pay $20,000. You also have to look at maintenance of equipment if it breaks down and sharing costs for that,” Fredenburg said.

Lees said some equipment, such as a curb-cutting machine and a brush sweeper, is used by some townships once per year.

“Those could be items we could share individually,” Lees said.

He said Brookfield may use some of its equipment such as a storm-sewer cleaning unit for a certain time period and then it could go to Howland for two weeks or Liberty for two weeks.

LaPolla said residents of different communities could help run the equipment or work for a township if they meet the criteria needed.

“We are looking to fill the shortage but not take people away. Helping each other is good. We need to see if this would be feasible or practical,” he said.

In another matter, Johnston officials are seeking assistance to get an old communication tower behind the fire department removed for liability issues in case it or parts of it fall.

Weathersfield Trustee Steven Gerberry said the tower is on Johnston property, is obsolete and not used by the Trumbull County 911 Center anymore.

He said Trumbull County commissioners have heard concerns from trustees and agreed to try and sell the tower and have it removed.

Gerberry said a tower that was on Panther Drive was placed on the gov.deals auction site and a company bid on it, came and took down the tower, and took it somewhere else to put it back to use.

“Instead of paying someone to tear down the tower, it can be put on the auction site for a few weeks,” he said.

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