Wednesday, March 28, 2018 (Brookville Star) - Fire levy, property maintenance issues occupy Clay Trustees

(by Brookville Star Contributing Writer Kay Dawson)


CLAY TOWNSHIP - Brookville Fire Chief Ron Fletcher and Phillipsburg Fire Chief Matt Rhoades spoke to Clay Township trustees at the March 19 meeting.

Referring to Trustee Jeff Requarth's previous statement that he had gotten no response from from officials in Brookville, Verona and Phillipsburg about a committee to support the levy, both chiefs said he had not contacted the.

"It's not our levy," Fletcher said. "We are just the recipients of it. Brookville is not going to be able to continue to subsidize the shortfall. We have nothing to cut."Requarth reminded the chiefs they had originally indicated they saw their roles as consultants. Since the last meeting, both the Verona and Phillipsburg mayors have told him they have a few interested citizens but have not given him the names.

Trustee President Dave Vore said first contacting elected officials was a matter of protocol.

Addressing Fletcher, he said, "You came to us after the last election, wanted the levy put on the ballot in the next election and advocated for the same rate. We did what you wanted."

Requarth pointed out the levy passed in the unincorporated areas of Clay Township the trustees represent, saying, "The problem is in your cities. I can't go into the city and make them harmonious."

Fletcher speculated that in the event of another failure, "we are going to be left to deal with the problem" and asked, "Are we going to do away with the services? No one wants that."

Both chiefs met informally with trustees after the meeting.

Steve Argast, from Brookville-Phillipsburg Road, asked about progress on a property maintenance code. In 2014, Argast asked the township to deal with his neighbor's poorly maintained property. At that time the trustees began working on a maintenance code.

Argast said the recent triennial evaluation had in fact shown lowered property values in the area.

"I put a lot of money in my house, and one property in the neighborhood is dragging down the other," he complained.

Both Requarth and Vore (trustee Steve Woolf was absent) said they have talked to Butler Township officials about their code.

"There is no legal basis for us to enforce anything outside of what the Ohio Revised Code allows," Vore said. "Butler has only managed on civil action in six years, through the Vandalia Municipal Court."

He suggested setting up a meeting between Argast and the attorney for a better explanation.

Trustees set the starting pay of part-time police officers at $12.50 per hour. Vore agreed with Requarth that this was low and said, "We've been able to move it up, but it's not where it should be."

The next regular meeting of the trustees will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 2, in the township building at 8207 Arlington Road.