Centerville’s council discussed personnel updates involving the building commissioner and fire department, plus some needed repairs at its March 26 work session.  

Building commissioner

Kevin Branson, Centerville’s building commissioner, has resigned to take another position. Town manager Kevin Slick has hired Terry Ford to start in April to replace Branson.  

Ford was Centerville’s building commissioner from June 2022 to March 2023. He joined Hagerstown when its building commissioner retired. 

Hagerstown officials asked if Ford could work part time for Hagerstown and part time for Centerville if each paid half of Ford’s salary and benefits.  

However, Slick said Centerville has enough work to keep Ford busy with construction currently underway and new construction potentially starting. 

Slick said Centerville’s code enforcement/building commissioner, Gerald Millsaps, also plans to retire. He has been in that role since March 2022.

Thus, Slick said he doesn’t want to permanently split the building commissioner’s hours with Hagerstown. He’ll lend Ford to Hagerstown for 30 to 60 days when he’s needed, until Hagerstown can hire a replacement or if Wayne County would take over those duties for Hagerstown.   

Fire department 

Andy Aughe, new Centerville Fire/Rescue chief, said both fire stations will be staffed from 6 p.m. Friday, April 5, until 6 p.m. Monday, April 8, for the total solar eclipse. Two teams of at least three to four volunteers will take 12-hour shifts. 

Aughe also has selected four officers: Assistant Chief Jimmy Lawrence, Battalion Chief Phil Bedel (personnel and buildings), Captain Hank Dennis (fire training) and Captain Josh Minnix (trucks and equipment). Aughe will keep two lieutenant spots open. 

Anthony Smith stepped down from battalion chief to reserve status, and a few people have indicated interest in joining CF/R, which has 25 members when fully staffed.   

Another change on the horizon is that Wayne County volunteer fire departments will switch to 800 megahertz radios by January 2026. Aughe is communicating with county officials who said the county might help with equipment purchases.   

Councilor Gary Holbert urged residents to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to ensure they’re functioning.  

In other business

  • Inspectors found the check valve on Well 2 is not functioning properly during the annual equipment examination. The valve must be replaced to prevent water backfeeding into the well and avoid contamination. Slick will provide a cost estimate when it becomes available. In addition, Well 3 needs cleaning in the next couple of years. A dirty well gets harder to pump and can cause expensive issues.  
  • Some trees will be removed because they’re posing a safety hazard. Slick said he will see if funds are available to repair the nearby sidewalk. 
  • Slick said a wastewater backup occurred in the 600 block of East Main. A couple of large root balls in the main caused a backup into a resident’s basement that required cleaning. About 90% of the roots have been removed to prevent future issues. 

Council’s next meeting starts at 7 p.m. April 9 at town hall, 204 E. Main St. It’s open to the public. 

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A version of this article appeared in the April 3 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.