Jerome Township is adding a third meeting to their monthly trustee schedule.
With the influx of development applications, township officials said the extra day might lighten the load of covering topics during their regular two meetings.
“We talked about this at out last director of departments meeting,” said Trustee Joe Craft. “An option would be to have the first meeting of the month to have a full report from the fire department and the on the second meeting of the month have a full director of departments report.”
The third meeting would allow the board to carry over items not discussed in the first two in an effort to “tie up loose ends.”
Craft added that he wasn’t sure about a third meeting but recognized that the trustees needed a solution to the workload and to reduce meeting lengths.
He also noted that it is not uncommon for township trustees to meeting three times and added that he knows of townships were the board only meets once a month.
“We’ve got stuff coming at us so fast and furious—faster than what any of us anticipated—that third meeting will get rid of a lot of that for us,” said Trustee Ron Rhodes.
He added, “We have things that come up even between our meetings now every two weeks that need our immediate attention. When you have to wait two weeks to even have a conversation about it, it makes it difficult.”
Rhodes also mentioned that the new meeting could be added to the schedule but if the board knows in advance that there would be nothing to discuss, they could post the information online 48 hours ahead to let the public know.
The trustees voted to add the third day on the fourth Thursday of the month at 7 a.m.
That new meeting would start this month, making the first of the third meetings on July 25 at 7 a.m. in the township building.
Although the change would take effect right away, it would only be July through October as the fourth Thursday of November and December both fall on holiday weeks.
Also at their July 2 meeting, the trustees voted to have the Union County Auditor certify the millage amounts for two possible fire levy options.
Preliminary numbers from the fire department show a 5.5 mill levy would bring in just over $2 million and a 5.3 mill levy would bring in $1.8 million.
Township officials decided on the numbers after several presentations by fire chief, Doug Stewart, at the regular trustee meetings and information gathered during two town hall meetings the department had with residents.
Initially, Stewart proposed an 8.9 mill levy in June but residents were concerned with that number, which would effectively double the amount they pay with the current levies in place.
With a second fire station set to open in Jerome Village, the department would need additional funding to staff it properly. Currently, the department’s total revenue is $2.9 million and Stewart said he would need an additional $2.3 million to run both stations.
“This is the situation we are in. We’re in a crisis,” Stewart said. “I ask you guys to take a look at this, but I ask the public: please tell your trustees. Is this an acceptable number that you feel you can support?”
Rhodes said any proposed amounts over 5.5 mills scared him but would be willing to go lower.
“I don’t like 5.5 but I understand the situation,” Rhodes said. “I’m inclined to go with 5.5. That’s kind of where I am at the moment.”
If the township decides to put a fire levy on the ballot in November, they have until August 7 to file the paperwork.
...For the full story, select an option below.