MADISON TOWNSHIP – Presentation of the resolution to pass this year’s permanent appropriations prompted further comments on the Township’s finances at the Feb. 28 Board of Trustees meeting.
The resolution called for the trustees to adopt the permanent appropriations budget in the amount of $5,317,287.
Trustee Ken Gauntner questioned how much the budget was decreased from 2016. It was determined last year’s budget was $5.397 million.
“The bottom line though, when you look at this budget is we’re not increasing revenue at all—we’re flat and it’s not going the other way,” he said. “The bad news is, Governor Kasich and his 2018-2019 budget—he’s talking about playing with the local government formula again, and I think that’s going to have a negative impact on us.”
Gauntner said he would provide copies of an article from Governing magazine about how states have been reducing funding to communities with a focus on Ohio, whose local governments have had state funding reduced by 39 percent.
“Basically, what the state’s trying to do is force local governments to put more levies on the ballot and be self-sufficient, and I see that’s where we’re headed—with things like road levies and police levies and fire levies,” Gauntner said.
Fiscal Officer Terry Gerred-Ditchcreek said the Township’s Local Government Fund was reduced by 50 percent when she first became fiscal officer. The revenue reduction was compounded by the fact that Ohio law requires townships to provide certain services—like maintaining roads and cemeteries—no matter what their financial status is.
Gauntner said, according to the article, the trend will continue and residents are going to have to pay more if they wish to maintain their local services at a certain level.
Gerred-Ditchcreek said, although the Township manages its money well, without any revenue increase it will continue to dip into reserve funds to maintain services.
“Eventually it will catch up,” she said. “We don’t have a way to bring in any other revenue.”
In other business:
• Max Sorensen, owner of the Wagon Wheel, stated a reverse raffle to help fund the Light Up the Park event in September would be March 11 at Stanton Park. The annual golf outing will be at Madison Country Club June 17.
He said the excavator who moved the sand at Township Park left holes in the beach which could fill with water come spring and cause a problem with mosquitos. He said last year’s contractor did a better job leveling the beach.
• Police Chief Matt Byers reported the lieutenant exam was given Feb. 11 and the Civil Service Commission certified the results.
“Due to some manpower issues we are having right now, the actual promotions are going to be postponed for a bit,” the chief said.
Byers said the department began billing the school district twice a year, rather than annually, for school resource officers.
So far the billing for three SROs has been within the district’s budget.
An Ohio Law Enforcement Collaborative assessor performed an onsite inspection and assessment Feb. 15 and recommended certification by the collaborative.
“As the Board is aware, this has been a process over several months involving implementation of required policies, training of the personnel, testing, and recordkeeping,” Byers said.
The chief also advised the Lake County Board of Commissioners had appointed him to the Lake County Homeland Security Advisory Committee for a two-year term.
• Trustees passed the following fiscal resolutions: accepting funds from Sherri Hannan for the River Road Waterline Project at 6035 River Rd. in the amount of $4,290 and to release and return an insurance fire loss claim in the amount of $19,000 to Craig Garvin for a fire loss at 1124 Maple Ave.
• Service Director Paul Cook reported on current maintenance projects and a stormwater best management practices seminar they will be attending soon.
• Administrator Tim Brown stated he sought quotes to replace the current public address system used for meetings.
He asked the trustees to approve a resolution to enter into an agreement to purchase one VIQ Continuum Workstation SW-Audio, and accompanying public address amplification system from Roach-Reid Office Systems.
Gauntner said he believed the new system would meet their needs for years and possibly do live broadcasts of the meetings on the Internet for the public.
Brown said he met with ODOT and the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority the previous week about the Port being designated the local fiscal agent for the TEA21 funds to be used for efforts to counter lake erosion at Stanton Park.
“If we’re aggressive, we’ll probably be able to break ground in September—start grading the bluff and getting the tile in and demoing some of the structures there,” Brown said.
• A resident suggested, if the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority gets its request for the additional 2 percent bed tax to pay for shoreline projects and improvements that the trustees ask for protection for the boat ramp at Township Park. He said if the wind is more than 5 mph boats could not dock or be launched from the dock.
The trustees were not hopeful that such a project could be done without a lot of difficulty in dealing with ODOT and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
• The trustees adjourned to executive session to discuss pending litigation, personnel BWC compensation and to consider personnel matters.
• The next regular meeting will be at 11 a.m. with a workshop preceding at 10:30 a.m.