Madison trustees put off financial decisions due to COVID-19 concerns
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MANSFIELD - The possibility of lower tax revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic forced Madison Township trustees to postpone or change financial decisions and to discuss delaying levy actions in the near future.
sg飞艇appFinance-related topics during Monday's 90-minute regular meeting included adding personnel to the road department, compensation for the zoning inspector, renewal of a fire levy, the possibility of a new road levy and how soon trustees intend to build a new fire station.
The money issue arose during the first public comment period when Beal Avenue resident Tom McGinty questioned the way the road crew patches potholes and suggested a way he felt would save time and money. Hazelwood Drive resident Tim Goff asked if trustees were considering adding any personnel to the road department to help with the work.
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“The money is not there right now,” Trustee Cathy Swank said. “We know on permissive sales tax we’re not going to get as much at least for a couple or three months and the gasoline tax we’re not going to get as much so we’re going to have to take a look at those and putting on any more personnel right now is just not in the cards .”
sg飞艇appGoff then asked if trustees are going to postpone any action on a new fire station in light of current finances. Trustees reported at their Feb. 3 meeting that an informal committee — that included Fire Chief Ron Luttrell and trustees chairman Dan Fletcher — met briefly and informally with a Columbus consultant about the various steps in the process to design and build a facility.
Fletcher told Goff the trustees have spoken with one architectural firm about the process of getting a new fire station built, but no requests have been made for quotes for any consulting work nor has an architect been hired. “I don’t see it in the foreseeable future, but I see it in the future.”
sg飞艇appGoff then asked the board if they are delaying action on another new road levy because of fear it might jeopardize a fire levy renewal that trustees have indicated they want to put on the November ballot.
“As long as I’ve been coming to meetings, all the complaints come for roads and houses and garbage and trash,” he said. “I haven’t heard anybody complain about our fire department.”
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sg飞艇appSwank, who has proposed the township do more with the roads, said she favors waiting until next spring to discuss a new levy.
“With all that’s going on I cannot justify putting on another road levy until we see where we are and not asking people, until they recover from the COVID-19, to take on any more taxes,” she said. “Right now, none of us can predict, none of us has a crystal ball, and all we can do is look at things day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and go from there.”
sg飞艇appFletcher also pointed out that the township spent more money in January and February than it did in the first two months of 2019. He hopes to have March and April expense figures at the next meeting May 18.
In other business, trustees increased the zoning inspector’s hours from 15 to 20 per week, as it usually does for the summer, but reduced a proposed $1-per-hour pay raise to 50-cents per hour.
Trustees also approved bid specifications and documents and voted to advertise for bids for the township’s summer road resurfacing program. The documents contained no major changes from those presented in April, when Fletcher said he would rather have seen more roads receive a chip-seal coating to extend road levy money.
First Energy external affairs representative Joe Jakubick told trustees that the electric company is doing all it can to make sure the lights stay on during the pandemic with workers performing their jobs in smaller group “pods” over the past several weeks. He also reminded both residential and commercial customers that the company will not disconnect service for non-payment of bills during the health crisis.
“I should have information in the next couple of weeks on how long that will continue,” Jakubick added.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Dan Fletcher supported a $.50 cents per hour pay increase for the zoning officer. Fletcher opposed the raise.