Hiram roundup: EMS pays the cost of being a good neighbor, chief says

The Village of Hiram’s EMS staff has been getting a workout, but Fire Chief Bill Byers noted that the service is increasingly one sided, with Hiram providing much more mutual aid than it is getting.

“I’m not opposed to helping neighbors, but if we’re supplementing their service, I don’t agree with that,” council member David Smith said.

Byers said chiefs in neighboring communities have told him they are having staffing difficulties. Complicating matters is that some insurance does not cover EMS transport, or may only cover a couple hundred dollars, putting Hiram in a position in which it is forced to write off up to $900 in costs. Byers said this is a common occurrence.

He said he will prepare specific numbers and present them to the village council’s finance committee on May 25.

Returning to in-person meetings

Taking a practical approach to perhaps conducting council meetings in person, Village Solicitor Tom Reitz polled all members who might attend to determine if anyone has not been vaccinated.

Only one council member had not received his vaccine, and he pledged to look into getting one the next day.

Because Hiram’s council chambers are small, it’s difficult to accommodate masked and unmasked, vaccinated and unvaccinated attendees. 

One idea floated during the meeting was that once everyone has been vaccinated, council could meet in person, and the public could join by Zoom. Reitz said he will see if that is feasible. Hiram College’s tech personnel may assist with that, council member Robert Dempsey suggested.

While Hiram, like all communities, is due for a new round of CARES Act funding, Mayor Lou Bertrand noted that the guidelines are 159 pages long. There is no guarantee that all or most of the as-yet-unknown costs of returning to a hybrid meeting model will be covered. That being the case, Bertrand suggested waiting until the money is in hand and then determining how it might best be used.

Other Hiram news:

  • A longtime member of the village’s planning and zoning commission is stepping down, prompting Bertrand to ask if anyone would like to step up. The commission has been working to streamline the village’s procedures, which Bertrand called “antiquated and confusing.”
  • Recapping the May 4 primary, Bertrand said 106 of the 636 registered voters in Hiram cast ballots. Voters supported all the ballot issues, including the Crestwood school levy, which nonetheless failed.
  • Looking forward to Memorial Day, Hiram is planning a low-key ceremony with three speakers to read the roll call of veterans who served as far back as the American Revolution. A reception at Maggie’s Doughnuts will follow.
  • Brush pickup is ongoing in the village, with pickups scheduled for the last Friday of May, June, July, August and September. Residents should take care not to put out more brush than two men can load in 15 minutes. Tree branches and brush should be no longer than eight feet in length. Leaves and small twigs must be bagged in bio-degradable bags, and sealed with bio-degradable tape or twine. Brush and leaf bags must be placed far enough from the curb to avoid traffic.
  • A water main replacement has traffic down to one lane in the village. The water main supplying Garfield Road south of Wakefield Road is being replaced. The new main will be installed on the east side of Garfield south to the village limits. Work will continue all year, and periodic water service interruptions can be expected.
  • Hiram’s leaders had planned on doing some work on the village water tower, but the skyrocketing cost of construction materials has put a crimp in that project. Village Administrator James McGee suggested chasing grant money may be the best bet.