GREENVILLE – The Wagner Avenue expansion project that was proposed in June of this year received unanimous approval on Tuesday at the Greenville City Council meeting.
The project was previously met with opposition from two council members who did not want to push the tax burden onto future taxpayers when the city’s portion of the 30-year zero interest loan would begin 24-years from now.
The project widens Wagner Avenue north of Lowe’s and each of the property owners would pay their portion of the road widening project, which includes sidewalks, utilities and lighting, through an assessment on their property taxes for the next 20 years. The project is expected to make the properties shovel ready for future developments. The city would be responsible for its portion, approximately $416,000, due to owning property (retention pond) at the corner of Wagner Avenue and Childrens Home Bradford Road. This is a $1.9 million project.
According to Auditor Roxanne Willman, the administration met with councilmen John Hensley and Clarence Godwin to come up with a compromise. The new plan allows the city would amortize their portion of the loan over 30 years. For the first 29 years, the city would amortize $13,893 years and $13,877 in the final year. Hensley thanked the administration for their willingness to work with him to come to an agreement. He specifically thanked Auditor Willman and former mayor Mike Bowers for planting the seed of amortization.
Council also heard a request from Fire Chief Russ Thompson who asked council to fund the start up costs that would allow the department to become an Advanced Life Support (ALS) engine company.
“This year, we changed our response plan with Greenville (Township) Rescue. We are doing a lot more first responder calls when they have their units tied up,” he said. “The new thing we’ve been doing is that we go on a lot of cardiac arrests with them.”
The City of Greenville Fire Department has responded to 61 EMS calls with rescue, which is three times the number they did the previous year. Chief Thompson expects that number to increase next year. “All of our personnel are EMTs or basic life support. That’s the requirement. A third of our personnel are paramedic certified, which is advanced life support.”
Chief Thompson believes the problem is they are being dispatched without a basic life support rig. “These personnel have the skills and knowledge to conduct ALS care, but we haven’t given them the equipment to do so,” he said.
The chief asked to purchase a fully equipped Crisis Bag that will include a portable suction unit, ALS Drug Bag, and ERS EMS Module for reporting. The fire department has the funds available for the Crisis Bag. However, the department is also seeking a 12-lead monitor/defibrillator from Stryker. The cost of the unit is $27,452.68. If approved, the city would be able to pay for the unit through CIP funds over three years through a zero-interest loan through Stryker.
Chief Thompson said he could not guarantee they would have ALS personnel on every shift, but more times than not they would be able to provide ALS care. He did point out that most new hires already have the qualifications needed for ALS.
“We continue to improve our working relationships and providing our services to the community, collectively. If we had a cardiac arrest on Water Street, two or three years ago we would not have been dispatched to that,” Thompson said. “Sometimes we’re going to be beat them. Sometimes they’re (rescue) going to beat us. The most important thing is for somebody to get there and start care.”