Liberty Township purchases fire truck


A fire ladder truck costing $1,324,330 from Chicago-based Sutphen Corporation and add-on equipment from a third-party costing $75,760 was approved by the Liberty Township Board of Trustees Monday.

HR Specialist Cathy Buehrer said the amended resolution was for splitting the cost out of the truck and the equipment, which totaled $1.4 million. Fiscal Officer Rick Karr said this was for accounting purposes.

Other than confirming the costs, the trustees had no comment on the resolution.

Two heart monitors were also approved to be purchased for $30,000 from Stryker, a Michigan-based company.

“Due to the current crisis, and the fact that the orders are all backed up, we decided to go ahead and get it now,” Fire Chief Thomas O’Brien said of the monitors.

The trustees also approved contracting with Delaware County for the purchase and installation of fiber line for connectivity between Liberty Township Fire Department Stations 321 and 322. The county would be responsible for maintenance. The $110,000 appropriation had already been approved, but this resolution was to move forward with the project.

Lastly, the trustees discussed “Declaring specific classes of Liberty Township employees be excluded from the federal expansion of paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act because they are either an emergency responder or those whose services are otherwise needed to limit the spread of COVID-19, including those whose skills are needed to provide aid in this state of emergency, who work with the facilities employing emergency responders and/or whose work is necessary to maintain the operation of the facilities.”

“Anyone supporting local infrastructure is very important,” said Township Administrator Mike Schuiling. “This is a long-term situation we’re dealing with.”

Schuiling and Buehrer spent half of the trustees meeting discussing the details of the just-passed FFCRA. Karr said he would make a presentation at the second trustees meeting in June.

“I’m all for helping people out if they get in a bad situation,” said Trustee Bryan Newell. “We just need to see if any those situations come up. Right now, we’ve been lucky.”

The virtual meeting was live-streamed, with nine participants appearing from their separate homes, including Assistant Fiscal Officer Lee Ann Weer.

Adam Howard from the Delaware General Health District started with his monthly update. Naturally, it focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spread to include 75 confirmed cases and one death in the county over the past month.

“We’ve been busy … working 12-and-a-half-hour days Monday through Friday, and six-hour days on Saturday and Sunday to try and keep up with this and keep the community safe,” Howard said. He said the DGHD is now including a map to show approximately where the cases are.

“Unfortunately, it’s out there, and we know more cases are going to be coming,” Howard said. In response to a question, he said the DGHD isn’t testing.

O’Brien said he canceled vacations to handle additional runs for the coronavirus patients. He also purchased PPE before supplies ran out, but there hasn’t been a need for them yet.

Before the meeting, Schuiling said there had been some instances across the United States of online public meetings being interrupted in different ways by trolling hackers. There was an instance where the meeting had been “hijacked,” Schuiling said, but it did not require restarting the nearly hour-long meeting.

Schuiling also said there had not been any of public comment of emails to him prior to the meeting. He said they don’t have the ability to answer questions live, though.

Early in the meeting, Trustee Mike Gemperline wished to shut down the meeting due to public comments on the live-stream. He later agreed to continue doing virtual meetings.

“Right now, we’re in a health crisis situation,” Trustee Shyra Eichhorn said. “We need to make sure we are conducting the business of the township, and I know our friends over in Orange Township, Powell, and other townships are utilizing virtual meetings, so we need to move ahead.”

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Pictured is Liberty Township Fire Station 321, which is located at 7761 Liberty Road in Powell. is Liberty Township Fire Station 321, which is located at 7761 Liberty Road in Powell.

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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