By Nancy Schaar
Several township trustee representatives met Thursday evening in the Center Township building to continue their quest to increase their share of Local Government Funds (LGF).
Augusta Township Trustee Carl Mangun, who is heading up the project, said he received signed resolutions from nine townships requesting additional funds including Augusta, Brown, Center, East, Fox, Lee, Loudon, Monroe and Orange.
“We have five more out. Washington will make 10 and Perry is supposed to come soon,” said Mangun.
Trustees also approached village officials in the county hoping they will back the resolutions and join them in trying to obtain more funds from LGF from county commissioners.
The only village that has agreed to participate so far is Magnolia.
Mangun said he has had no response at all from Malvern Mayor Angela Lambert, who has not returned any of his phone calls. He hasn’t had any word from Sherrodsville Mayor Ken Moffat either if they would be signing a resolution.
“Dellroy is afraid of commissioners. They are afraid of what commissioners would do against them if they joined us in asking for more money,” said Mangun.
There are 14 townships and seven villages in the county. Eight townships and four villages would have to agree to the resolution in order to move forward.
Carrollton Council discussed the resolution during the May 23 meeting and chose to take no action.
Under the current formula, the county retains 60 percent of local government funds and divides the other 40 percent between the villages and townships. Villages receive 25 percent and townships receive 15 percent.
Mangun believes that split should be 40 percent for the county and 60 percent for villages and townships. Villages and townships should each receive 30 percent, he said.
During a meeting earlier this year to discuss funding for the county health department, Commissioner Bob Wirkner said he was willing to increase the county and village share to 50 percent with the county retaining 50 percent, if the budget would permit it. He noted at that time he was only one commissioner and it would take two of the three commissioners voting for a resolution to make the change.
Mangun dislikes the current system where township trustees have to attend a meeting of the county budget commission each year and “beg for money.” The commission consists of the county auditor, treasurer and prosecuting attorney.
The discussion was a result of a meeting in which the county health department asked township and villages to increase their amount contributed to the health department fund each year. They currently pay $177,817 and an additional $133,947 was requested for 2017.
Due to the lack of funds for the health department, commissioners will be forced to place a levy on the November ballot asking residents to meet the gap in funding.
Mangun said that the townships are desperately struggling for a way to make badly needed road repairs. The gas and oil companies came in and made improvements to the township roads and walked away. He said truck traffic continues and continues to damage the roads. Townships are left with no funding to make any repairs, according to Mangun.
“If we don’t start doing something now, if you think the roads are bad now, just wait,” continued Mangun.
“Maybe commissioners should be reminded that two of them are up for re-election this fall,” stated Brown Township Trustee Ryan Irwin. Mangun agreed and said there are a lot of votes in the townships and commissioners might need reminded of that.
Mangun continued by saying LGF monies should be divided based on road miles. Center township has the least with 12 miles, Brown township has 49, the average township has 27 or 28 miles.
Orange Township Trustee Jim Romig said the group should continue to move forward and contact village officials. He offered to speak with the mayor of Leesville. Irwin said he will try to speak to Malvern mayor Angela Lambert.
Mangun said he believes there is money in the county accounts that isn’t accounted for.
Brown Township Fiscal officer Jeanie Grim suggested the county should use the open checkbook web site feature so that residents can see what money is available and exactly where the money in the county is going.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, Mangun said townships and villages have a right to this money and have a legal right to ask for more funding.
Township trustees and village representatives are asked to attend another meeting June 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Center Twp. building.
Mangun said they plan to take their final offer to commissioners following that meeting with sufficient township and village resolutions to make an impact.