Perry Township happenings

Dear Editor and Perry Township residents:

Just some of the highlights from the January and February 10 Perry Township board meetings. Dick Wilson is chairman and Dusty Smith is vice chairman for 2019. This year the trustees will focus upon a couple of road projects. The first is a major project involving Zimmerman Road. The trustees agreed to replace the Zimmerman culvert prior to the Roberts property and cut down the hillside adjacent to the culvert, which should improve visibility for Roberts.

Also, the trustees agreed to pave Zimmerman and widened Zimmerman as its berm does not stay very long. At the January meeting trustee Dusty Smith reported that he had the county berm Zimmerman two months ago, which helped. However, the trustees noted that truck out there (Roberts Auto Transport LLC) is eating the berm up. Secondly, trustee Smith reported that he has thought about the water problem across Barrett Road, which was such a concern last year to the residents whose property was being flooded. Smith thinks most of the water can be stopped by installing a basin and a covered tile to divert the water down the hill to a culvert. The trustees agreed to get a quote from the county engineer on this project.

Trustee Smith reported that the cylinder on the new snowplow truck is broken. He has purchased a new cylinder and K.R. will replace it and bill the township for labor. According to Smith, the part is under warranty and the snow plow company will reimburse the township for the cylinder and labor. Smith also reported that the new snowplow’s cutting edge is worn out and K.R. will replace it with one on hand The trustees agreed to purchase a spare cutting edge for an approximate cost of $600. In order to comply with new rules from the Ohio Legislature (House Bill 312), the trustees adopted a policy on the use of the township’s credit and debit cards. The policy can be viewed by contacting our fiscal officer, Brenda Hughes. Hughes presented the trustees with a record keeping system for their purchases, explaining that she is required to have documentation on all purchases turned in to her. At times she has had trouble figuring out what purchases are for and this record keeping system, when followed, should prevent such future problems.

Complaints from township residents were discussed. Someone is living in a camper on a property at the edge of New Martinsburg since summer and Smith said that legally, people can live in a camper for only three months per year. Junk from the former Everhart property on York Road was dumped on a property on Greenfield-Sabina Road. The trustees decided to send letters of notice to the property owners in each of these situations. The trustees discussed the very long standing concern about the flooding on Sugar Grove Road caused by water from the quarry. Hughes is not aware if the county prosecuting attorney has sent a letter, as requested by the township, to the property owner about correcting this problem.

Trustee Smith reported that the property owner is now charging people to scuba dive in the quarry. This may be a commercial use of a property that is classified agriculture. Smith questioned if this possible zoning violation could be used to help encourage the property owner to finally correct the water problem from his quarry. The trustees agreed to look into this zoning issue. FO Hughes went over the recently passed salary increases for all Ohio elected officials (Ohio Senate Bill 296) in the form of a yearly 1.75 percent cost of living adjustment through 2028. However, per the Ohio Constitution, our township officials cannot receive this increase during their current term of office. Instead they must be re-elected and begin a new term before receiving this increase. The law establishes township officials’ compensation based on a township’s budget. If I correctly understand the Perry Township budget, our trustees’ current yearly salary is $9,996 ($49.63 per day for 200 days) and our FO receives a salary of $15,597.

In addition, several years ago our trustees approved a township health care reimbursement plan with a yearly cap of $3,000. Although at the December 2018 meeting our trustees voted to increase this yearly maximum to $4,950 during the February meeting, Hughes and Smith mentioned that in checking with county and state officials they found that they can not take this $1,950 increase in compensation until their next term in office. I did question their 2019 eligibility for this increase when it was passed in December, thinking that it might represent a prohibited midterm increase in compensation, but trustee Smith believed they would be eligible since it involved their medical insurance.

Janet Anderson

Perry Township resident