Wednesday, June 13, 2018 (Brookville Star) - Phillipsburg, Clay trustees discuss fire and police issues

(by Kay Dawson, Star Contributing Writer)

CLAY TOWNSHIP - Kevin Koontz of the Phillipsburg Village Council asked the Clay Township Trustees at the June 4 trustee meeting if they had given any thought to a split fire district in which property owners served by Phillipsburg and Verona fire departments would vote on a separate fire levy than those served by Brookville.

Trustee Steve Woolf, who also works as Jefferson Township's administrator, said such a split district exists there, with those served by the Germantown Fire Department paying one rate and those served by Farmersville paying another.

"There are also other options, and we need to study this," he said, but he cautioned that the trustees can't make such a decision.

"It's a matter of what the voters want," Woolf said.

Koontz also asked if trustees had looked further into the village's request for a joint police district.

Trustee President Dave Vore responded that he and the township's police chief, John Van Gundy, had discussed an estimated budget, "but we put it on hold until after the fire levy vote." The 3.5 mill fire levy was defeated in May by a margin of 1,038 votes against to 823 votes in favor.

"A police district is governed by a board, and a lot of responsibilities change," Vore said.

He said Phillipsburg Mayor Cheryl Crabtree had not replied when he suggested a contract instead of a joint district, but he assured Koontz the issue is not dead. Crabtree was unable to attend the Jun 4 meeting.

Fiscal Officer Brad Limbert suggested the trustees adopt the system used elsewhere of elected officials signing a statement that they had examined the bank reconciliation. He explained this allows for more internal control in small jurisdictions where on person handles the finances.

Vore objected, saying he felt this indicated trustees had validated the record' accuracy. Trustees agreed they had no problem with a statement that they had "reviewed the bill."

Trustee Jeff Requarth asked why the township didn't adopt the Online Checkbook program, with expenditures listed online for resident to review. The others favored such transparency, but Limbert said he prefers answering financial questions from the public directly so he can explain revenue as well as expenditures. Woolf said possibly financial records could be posed on the township's Web site.

The weather also came under discussion, as Road and Cemetery Superintendent Chris Maleski reported he and Stefan Bridenbaugh, of the county engineer's office, have determined that flooding complained about at the May 21 Trustees' meeting, is most likely due to broken tile at the edge of the township's property. He was collecting quotes on replacing it.

Zoning Officer Justin Brown said recent rains were creating tall grass on abandoned properties, but he is working to locate the owners. One person, he said, had asked for the township's patience, saying she had gotten part of the property mowed and then the mower broke.

The next trustee meeting will be at 5 p.m. on Monday, June 18, in the township building at 8207 Arlington Road.