DUKE CENTER — Like many residents throughout the state, the Rixfordians and Duke Centurians who attended Wednesday night’s monthly meeting were presented with the very real possibility of losing their local ambulance service.

This is a problem that has evolved statewide, particularly in rural areas where the population is both dwindling and aging. Fewer young people are volunteering to take the time-consuming and arduous classes required to become EMTs and the older ones who are qualified are, well, getting older.

Supervisor chairman Chris Claycomb has been aware of this potential loss for months and has met with the Otto Fire Department’s officers and EMTs to try and come up with a viable and reliable plan that would ensure the residents that an ambulance would be there whenever it was needed. The ideal solution — more locals signing up for training — is not happening at the present time, necessitating other options being explored and implemented.

The two possible ambulance services presented by the supervisors — the city of Bradford and Trans Am of Olean, N.Y. — are both costly, but it was agreed that reliable ambulance service for everyone is an essential commodity that must be included in the township’s budget. The supervisors will continue to pursue their options and present the public with their findings and suggestions at the October meeting, on the 9th at 6 p.m.

Another significant development was the unanimous passing of several ordinances. The blight committee, chaired by Richard Rivers, working with the guidance of consultant Chris Golata and township solicitor Erik Ross, has drafted a compilation of ordinances that cover property appearance, junk vehicles, pets and livestock, public nuisances, and other factors that the committee and the supervisors agreed on addressing. These ordinances will be legally published and will be available to the public at the township office.

Five new “Welcome” signs will be installed along roadways leading into the township, thanks to the effort of Sharon Schwab and her Old Home Days committee. The supervisors agreed to pay one-half of the cost of producing and installing the signs.

The Otto Township-Eldred Borough joint police force has hired another part-time officer to maintain their allotted coverage hours, currently 200 hours per month. Claycomb also informed the attendees that all police vehicles now have dash cameras installed and all officers will be wearing body cams. Due to verbal complaints being lodged against officers, a policy has been enacted requiring a written complaint be filed within 48 hours. These forms are available at both the police headquarters in Eldred and the supervisors’ office in Duke Center.

Mike Ogilvie reported that the project of displaying banners honoring the township’s veterans is proceeding with the goal of hanging them in the spring of 2020. Forms to request a banner are available at the township office and both post offices.

The bridge situation, on Depot Street and Clark Street in Rixford, was alleviated however slightly, by the state inspector’s leaving the Clark Street span’s weight limit at ten tons. But Depot Street’s limit has been reduced to three tons and will require attention in the very near future. The supervisors are considering all possibilities, including a temporary bridge while a new one is being installed and a new road connecting the two streets. Other road work being done is patching, trimming and coordinating efforts with neighboring townships on jobs requiring a larger work force.

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