Minutes: September 28th, 2021

Catawba Island Township Board of Township Trustees

Meeting Minutes

September 28, 2021

The regular business meeting of the Catawba Island Board of Township Trustees was called to order by Chairman Diane Belden on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. in the conference room of the administration building.

In attendance were: Diane Belden, Matt Montowski, William Rofkar, Karen Shaw, John Gangway,
Kevin Johnson, Kevin Gibbons, Ernie Wylie, Dan Barlow, Breann Christiansen, Vicki Wheatley,
Ann Rumpf, Dave Belden, Rebecca Jessen, Toni DeLuca, Michael Hablitzel, and Randy Riedmaier.

The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by all.

Matt Montowski made a motion to approve the September 14, 2021 Board of Trustees regular meeting minutes as received. William Rofkar seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

William Rofkar made a motion to approve and pay the bills, including the last payroll, in the amount of $75,259.40. The total includes a payment of $6,900 to C. L. Fox Contractors for work at the compost facility. Matt Montowski seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.


A letter from the Ottawa County Board of Elections expressing appreciation for continued support of the election process and for providing a polling location for the upcoming General Election to be held Tuesday, November 2.

A letter from Tony Palandrani of Rankin & Rankin Insurance Services expressing an interest to discuss the possibility of a competitive bid for the township’s employee benefits.

The 2021 Annual Report from STAR Ohio.

The Autumn 2021 newsletter from the Ohio Plan.


Maintenance Supervisor Kevin Johnson said the fall clean up went well although the backhoe was damaged and will need to be fixed.

William Rofkar said about 350 vehicles came through during the three days and traffic flow was good.

Kevin Johnson said there is still an issue with the administration building parking lot lights filling with water and shorting out. He said he is working to resolve the issue.


Fire Chief Kevin Gibbons said David Amerine and Martin Auxter recently completed fire fighter class.

Kevin Gibbons reported the equipment truck, Engine 225, is going in for service at Lakeland Auto.


Police Chief John Gangway said ODOT plans to close Route 53 next Monday and Tuesday to repair two crossovers and they will be back Thursday to pave over the trenches. He said they are trying to coordinate with the road work on West Catawba so that both roads are not closed at the same time.

Old Business

Diane Belden said EMS was discussed at the last meeting and she would like to move forward and schedule a separate work session to discuss EMS further and the proposal that was presented by a Catawba Island Volunteer Fire Department Member.

Matt Montowski said he stated at the last meeting he feels the EMS contract with Port Clinton is working fine and does not want to continue discussions unless the CIVFD Fire Chief or Fireman’s Association show support for revisiting EMS.

Diane Belden said there is support as a survey was taken and a majority of the members would like to see EMS return to CIVFD.

Fire Chief Kevin Gibbons said he and the other officers believe EMS is working fine the way it is now so when a couple members presented a proposal to bring EMS back he told them they can present the plan if they want. He said the members presented the plan to the Fireman’s Association and a majority of the Association members said they are in favor of bringing EMS back to CIVFD.

Matt Montowski said Port Clinton EMS response time has been fantastic and the cost is very effective.

William Rofkar said set up another meeting if you want but we have been talking about EMS for years and now it is being politicized during a campaign season as if the subject is new. William Rofkar said this is very important to us and we have to keep EMS running in the township. He said as Trustees we have to take emotions out of it, but unfortunately we had a problem with achieving EMS response over and over again. William Rofkar said the Trustees met with and worked with fire department members and decided to contract with Port Clinton during a time when they were transitioning away from North Central EMS. He said it has worked out very well and when 911 is called they respond on average in nine minutes and forty five seconds with advanced life support. William Rofkar said he believes one day we will have EMS operating from within the township, but he said it will not work today because we do not have enough people.

Diane Belden said the proposed plan is completely different and would involve hiring individuals and operating with a paid staff for EMS and would not depend on volunteers. She agreed there was a need to contract with Port Clinton temporarily, but said there are many things to consider and she would like to discuss it further in a meeting devoted to the topic and not in a regular business meeting.

Matt Montowski said he believes the issue is political with the election coming up and is not in favor of having a work session on the topic at this time.

Diane Belden said this is not a political issue and we can set up a meeting for a date in the future.

Matt Montowski said he is still in favor of receiving a letter of support from CIVFD membership because we all have to work together.

Several residents and CIVFD members in attendance spoke in favor of the Trustees exploring alternate possibilities for having EMS operating within the township once again.

Michael Hablitzel commended Catawba Island first responders following an incident in the summer.

New Business

Rebecca Jessen said she resides on East Pittsburgh Street and last winter her daughter wrote a letter to the Trustees concerning light pollution from The Orchard located at 3266 NE Catawba. She said at the time Trustees addressed the issue and responded that the business said the lighting was seasonal and would cease soon. Rebecca Jessen said it did cease but unfortunately in late spring trees began being lit again until finally on Labor Day weekend every building, tent, shrubbery and tree has been lit. She said now again the “seasonal” lighting is on every single night, all night long. Rebecca Jessen asked as a compromise that the business turn the lights off when the business closes at night.

Diane Belden said she thought the business put the lights on a timer and that it was no longer an issue. Diane Belden said she will reach out to the owner again.

Vicki Wheatley reported a few items the Parks Board is currently working on including the Fall Walk planned for Saturday, October 2, at 10 a.m. She said the Parks Board would also like to have a Speakers Bureau from April through September and is lining up speakers to talk about the Nature Preserve, bird migration, and nuisance animals to name a few. Vicki Wheatley also asked the Trustees to please keep the Parks Board informed with regard to what a community member, working independently, is doing in the North Point Preserve.

Matt Montowski said he also received an email from Parks Board member Brad Schwan regarding the resident and the trees recently approved and purchased to be planted in the preserve. Matt Montowski said following a previous Trustee meeting he understood that the community member can continue to volunteer her time and work in the preserve and report to William Rofkar if she has questions. Matt Montowski said the Parks Board previously did not want anything to do with the North Point Preserve.

Diane Belden said that was a few years ago but there are three new members on the Parks Board and they are very involved and want to be included in the decisions regarding the North Point Preserve.

William Rofkar said the Parks Board has turned the community member’s requests down in the past.

Diane Belden said that is because the Parks Board had someone come in and look at the North Point Preserve and they said no to her because they did not feel her request was in the best interest of a nature preserve.

William Rofkar said he likes the improvements the community member has made and thinks she is doing a really good job and supports her in her efforts.

Vicki Wheatley said the Parks Board just wants to know what is going on. She said she feels there is a chain of command.

Matt Montowski said it doesn’t apply in this case.

Vicki Wheatley asked what her role is as a new Parks Board member.

Matt Montowski suggested Vicki Wheatley talk to the Parks Board and said there is also a book with a mission statement etc.

Vicki Wheatley said as a tax payer she does not feel the invoice approved for the trees to be planted in a nature preserve was a wise decision.

William Rofkar said he thought the price was a little high but said that is what the volunteer really wanted to do and $1,200 didn’t seem that high when you have someone that has been working out there day after day for three or four years.

Matt Montowski said he received an email from Bruce Buckingham requesting permission to set up nets in the nature preserves for Saw-Whet Owl banding.

Trustees agreed Bruce Buckingham can continue to use the parks for Saw-Whet Owl banding.

William Rofkar said he would like to make a motion to approve a request from employee Ted Day for 30 days unpaid leave effective beginning September 28. Matt Montowski seconded the motion. All voted aye. Motion carried.

William Rofkar said the Catawba Island Historical Society asked if they can install a Little Free Library in front of the building.

Trustees agreed the CIHS can install a Little Free Library in front of the Chapel as requested.

William Rofkar made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Matt Montowski seconded the motion. All voted aye. The meeting adjourned at 8:46 p.m.

___________________________ _____________________________
Diane Belden, Chairman Karen Shaw, Fiscal Officer