Jerome Township Road Supervisor launches into new job


Jerome Township livestreamed its Trustees Meeting via the Division of Fire’s Facebook page for the first time Tuesday night. Pictured in the screen capture above, from left, are Road Division Supervisor Breht Fillinger, Fire Chief and Director of Departments Douglas Stewart, Fiscal Officer Robert Caldwell and Trustees Megan Sloat and C.J. Lovejoy. Although many residents commented that the video was high quality, they expressed difficulty hearing the audio from the meeting. Stewart said the township will continue to improve the quality as it gains more experience. (Photo submitted)

Jerome Township’s new Roads Division Supervisor has hit the ground running.
During Tuesday’s Trustees Meeting, Director of Departments and Fire Chief Douglas Stewart introduced Supervisor Breht Fillinger and shared updates on his progress.
Upon hiring Fillinger, Stewart said he provided him with a list of approximately 30 goals. Stewart said Fillinger has already addressed many of them and even added some of his own.
To complete road improvements appropriately, Stewart said the township is in need of a road grading system. He said he wanted it to be something easily understood by individuals outside of the Roads Division.
Fillinger completed a preliminary road grading system with four classifications: unsafe, poor, fair and good.
An unsafe road is in need of immediate repairs, a poor road will need repairs within 1-2 years, a fair road is suitable for traffic and will not need repairs for 3-5 years, while a good road has a life expectancy of 6-10 years with minor maintenance.
However, Fillinger clarified that these lifespans are accurate “in a perfect world.” Realistically, he said roads don’t generally last more than five years without repairs.
“After five years is when you really have to keep an eye on these roads,” he explained.
Stewart said the classification of roads will be based in part on traffic studies, which evaluate how often roads are driven and what type of traffic is using the road.
The roads will be inspected by the Roads Division two to three times a year, Stewart added.
He said the township has budgeted $150,000 for road improvements this year.
A major project includes improvements on Hickory Ridge Road. Stewart said Fillinger recently met with an individual from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to discuss options for improvement.
He said grader patching and chip sealing of the road will cost just under $45,000. In 2022, the road will be chip sealed and micro-sealed again.
Completely repaving the road would cost more than $150,000, the entire roads improvement budget, Stewart said, so the partial repairs are more financially reasonable.
Stewart said the Roads Division is also working to coordinate with Union County to make Hickory Ridge Road off-limits to semi-truck traffic. He said it’s a small “cut-through” between U.S. 42 and Route 736 that can’t handle heavier traffic.
“Even one (semi-truck) a day is tearing up the road,” Stewart said.
He said he and Fillinger are working together to determine “where to best spend our budgeted money.”
Fillinger plans to meet with the county within the week, weather permitting, to work on additional road improvements including sections of Ketch Road, Monterey Drive, Lambka Road and Rickard Road.
Aside from actual road improvements, Stewart also presented several other goals for the Roads Division.
He said Fillinger is working on replacements or improvements to the salt barn, skid steer and plow truck.
Fillinger is also creating a preventative maintenance schedule for township vehicles and equipment, including cost comparisons for internal and external repairs; plowing routes for township roads; road improvement schedules and projections for the next 3-5 years; personnel needs projections for the next 24-36 months; and disposal of broken or unused equipment.
In other business:
– The township discussed progress regarding livestreaming of Trustees Meetings.
Tuesday’s meeting was livestreamed on the Jerome Township Division of Fire Facebook page using a newly purchased laptop and camera.
Eventually, Stewart said the meetings will be broadcast on a Jerome Township Facebook page. There will be a link on the township website so residents can access the livestream directly from there.
To cut back on costs, the township attempted to use the audio system currently in place to broadcast the sound from the meeting. However, trustees said many viewers commented online to say the meeting was extremely difficult to hear.
Stewart said the group will work to find solutions and improve the livestream as they have more experience.
– Stewart said Harry Wolfe Park will reopen May 26, in accordance with recent guidance from Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.
He said there are still “a lot of restrictions on coaches and players” to encourage safe practices during the pandemic.
Reservations for the field are completely booked already, he added.
Stewart said the township hasn’t received guidance as to when playgrounds can reopen, but the Roads Division plans to disinfect the playground equipment this weekend in the case it reopens at the same time as the ballfield.

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