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Bazetta looks to spend virus funds

Department heads asked for ‘wish lists’ on possible $330K

BAZETTA — Township trustees and department heads are reviewing capital improvement projects and purchases they could make to benefit the community with the $330,000 in CARES Act funds that has been received or still is coming.

Trustee Chairman Ted Webb said at Tuesday’s meeting specific guidelines dictate how CARES Act funds can be spent for items related to coronavirus expenses. Webb said road, police and fire department heads are being asked to come up with a “wish list” of uses of the money and estimated costs.

He said while all the departments can benefit from the funds, the fire department is most at risk and can benefit with safety upgrades. The township received $79,000 in CARES Act funds already, with a second amount of $39,000 allocated and a third allocation of $199,000 still expected.

“Each amount needs to be spent within a specific time period or it will be lost. It is important we meet the requirements and not lose the funds. There can be viable projects to use the $79,000, but we need to get a plan in place on how to spend the money,” he said.

Fire Chief Dennis Lewis said larger projects of $50,000 or more would need to be placed out for bid, which would take longer in getting the money used.

Discussion of items that can be purchased could include heart monitors for the ambulances if transporting a coronavirus patient, a new ambulance, a new police cruiser or updating police department cameras.

Trustees are looking at touchless faucets and hand towels in restrooms and upgrades to make touchless entrance doors at the administration building.

“If we can make as much as we can touchless, this will help protect people. Right now we can’t open the administration building because we would have to be sanitizing every door knob all day,” Webb said.

Webb said funds could cover a voice-activated buzzer door at the administration building that an employee could open electronically to minimize face-to-face contact with the public.

Plans also are being made to update the township website for people to get permits for garage sales and other items online.

“This would be a good time for the department heads to make improvements to buildings and equipment,” Webb said.

Lewis said funds can be used on capital improvement projects to benefit and protect the community.

In other business, trustees are looking to reconstruct the utility / storage building at Hillside Cemetery. It was damaged by a January 2018 tornado. Webb said the project will need to be put out for bid, so work will be done in 2021.

The building will be the last project needing done at the cemetery. Other damage already has been repaired or is in process, including trees and markers that were knocked over, fences toppled and the chapel damaged.

Trustee Frank Parke said ground will be broken next spring for a block building.

Parke said work at the chapel almost is done with Campbell Carpet for carpeting at a cost of $1,168. He said a chaplain from a local church will be asked to bless the building when it is done.

Trustees tabled setting trick or treat in the township.

Webb said officials are waiting to hear from Gov. Mike DeWine on trick or treat, which officials said may be 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

“We are hearing there may be a set date and time for all communities to hold trick or treat. We want the children to be safe,” he said.

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