KINGSVILLE TOWNSHIP — The township will hold its next trustees meeting at the new streets garage, more than a year after construction started on the new meeting space.

The new meeting space is part of the township’s street department garage, which passed its final fire inspections, trustees said at Wednesday night’s meeting.

In 2016, the old township streets garage was destroyed by a fire. Work started on the replacement in 2018, and the garage was usable by the street department in 2019. However, the meeting space was still not ready.

An inspection last month found that an attic needed a fire door to be compliant with the fire code, the last hurdle before the meeting space could be used.

Trustees approved funds for the door at Wednesday’s meeting, and announced that the next meeting would be held at the garage.

In other business:

The township’s first full-time fire chief Jesse Sopko resigned, effective on Feb. 8, citing the violent nature of Kingsville Township as his reason for resigning.

Captain Dave West was appointed interim chief at a Jan. 27 special meeting of the trustees.

At Wednesday night’s meeting, trustee Jim Branch read a prepared statement during the meeting’s public comment section. Branch praised the work that Sopko did, and spoke directly to a township resident who has routinely criticized Sopko.

At the trustees’ Jan. 29 meeting, township resident Latimer Kubichek made a series of public-records requests relating to Sopko and the fire department, including how many members of Kingsville’s department live in the township.

Branch answered the questions in his statement, and pointed out the flaws in Kubichek’s arguments.

Less than two percent of the calls that came into the Kingsville Township Fire Department in 2019 were fire calls, Branch said.

Kubichek asked for the number of township residents who work for the department. Only one of the department’s employees lives in Kingsville Township, Branch said.

“Essentially, we’re running an EMS/ambulance service,” Branch said. “This isn’t really about the fire side of things. Those who complain are focused on the ‘fire chief’ and his ability to respond to a fire, but I repeat, that is only two percent of what we do. What is monumentally more important is our EMS response, 98 percent of what we do.”

The township’s fire department is staffed 16 hours a day. In 2019, 88 percent of the department’s calls came in when the department was staffed, Branch said.

Kubichek hit back at the trustees, criticizing them for the lack of an automatic aid agreement between Kingsville and North Kingsville.

“The surrounding townships are not very thought provoking with the three trustees we have here. They don’t want to work with you guys, and that upsets me,” Kubichek said.

Trustees disagreed with Kubichek’s categorization.

“The perception that we’re not getting along, I actually don’t see that either,” Branch said. “The fire departments are cooperating, they’re training together, they provide mutual aid. And as far as the trustees, personally, I know some of the people on the North Kingsville council. I don’t have a problem with any of them. We talk to Monroe and Sheffield. We go to the Township Association meetings once a month, we talk to these people. I don’t see this strife. I don’t see what you’re talking about.”

Karl Brunell, Chair of the Trustees, shared thoughts on the township’s fire department, and the position it was in.

“Kingsville Township is in a very good position,” Brunell said. “I’m completely happy with the service we provide. Would I love to have it 24/7? Sure. Sixteen hours is pretty good. It’s four hours more than we had when I started, and it’s 16 hours more than we had eight years ago, nine years ago now.”

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