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Miami Township Trustees— In-person meetings return

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Fifteen months after the pandemic lockdown began, and with it a transition to conducting Miami Township business through online video conference calls, the Township Trustees returned to in-person meetings Monday, June 21.

The meeting was also the three-person board’s first in the Township’s new fire station, which includes the trustees’ office, since the building’s completion last fall.

The gathering was small, with Trustee Mark Crockett, who is currently in residence at Friends Care Community, and fire Chief Colin Altman, who was on vacation, both absent. Present were Trustees Chris Mucher and Chair Don Hollister, Fiscal Officer Margaret Silliman and the head of roads and cemeteries, Dan Gochenouer.

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Attending from the community were Marilan Moir, who has announced her intention to run for a trustee’s seat in the fall election, and Jenifer Adams, a member of the Citizens for Greene Acres grassroots group that opposes construction of a proposed 1,500-acre solar array that crosses Miami, Cedarville and Xenia townships.

Mucher reported having received a complaint from a township resident that the Trustees were not offering a “hybrid” way to attend their meetings, with the resident saying that the absence of an online option “discriminates against the elderly.”

Business at the June 21 meeting included:

Mucher reported that the Township and the Yellow Springs Development Corporation, or YSDC, had settled their disagreement over who should pay for utilities and other fees incurred in the three months between announcing the sale of the former firehouse to comedian Dave Chappelle’s holding company and the final closing of that sale. The YSDC conducted the sale on behalf of the Township, having purchased the option to sell for $1. The original agreement included an 8% commission for the YSDC.

“We’re going to get a check for $380,000 from the sale of the firehouse,” Mucher reported, without giving any other details. The News has reported that the sale price was $424,000. In a June 14 email to the Trustees, Stephen Haller of the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office, which serves as the Township’s counsel, summarized the newly reached agreement with YSDC as a distribution of the sale’s net proceeds of $413,593.50, with YSDC to receive $33,593.50.

• Mucher also reported that the placement of the deduct meter in the new firehouse was not allowing it to correctly measure the water discharged in the vehicle bay, resulting in higher water bills.

“Long story short, we’re going to have to put a new deduct meter in at a cost of $5,950,” Mucher said.

Fiscal Officer Silliman reported that payroll was going to come up short without a transfer of money from the general fund. She requested that the Trustees approve a transfer of $7,000 to make that week’s payroll, and an additional $32,000 to make up the shortfall for the following four two-week pay periods.

She explained that payroll funds come from two revenue streams: one-third is covered by a fire department operations levy and two-thirds come from insurance reimbursements for ambulance runs.

“Insurance reimbursements go up and down,” Silliman said, adding that not all ambulance runs result in an insurance claim, as patients without insurance aren’t charged.

• Hollister announced that the Miami Township Board of Zoning Appeals was scheduled to have a hearing Wednesday, June 23, to review Zoning Inspector Richard Zopf’s ruling against certain activities occurring and/or planned at the Agraria farm property on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road, which is zoned for agriculture. Agraria leaders believe that a range of activities are allowable through the state’s agritourism rules; Zopf believes some do not qualify as agritourism.

Hollister said interested parties could “google Greene County agritourism,” concerning a court ruling about a property in Caesarcreek Twp., to see how Zopf made his determination.

About 75 people attended the Wednesday night hearing, packing into the meeting room at the new firehouse, but the meeting was continued until Wednesday, June 30, when a stenographer, hired by Agraria to take notes in preparation of a possible court action, did not show up.

Reporting about other agencies on which trustees serve, Mucher announced that the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Greene County Regional Planning Commission have each had recent “personnel discussions.” The MVRPC has extended the contract of its executive director, who recently earned a national award for his work, while the GCRPC promoted its assistant director to interim director with the resignation of the former director, who had been commuting from his home in Chillicothe. The GCRPC is currently seeking a new assistant director, Mucher said.

Mucher also said that the trustee’s might consider whether to continue its representation on the Yellow Springs Senior Center board. Crocket, who is the Township designee, has not been able to participate.

• The trustees voted in favor of building a new utility shed and a new columbarium, for holding funerary urns, at Glen Forest Cemetery. Total cost for the two structures is $32,400.

• The trustees responded positively to a request for financial support in the construction of a proposed Yellow Springs-Clifton bike path connector, authorizing a new donation of $5,000. The township gave an initial $5,000 in 2018.

The Trustees also agreed to contribute $500 to the local Odd Fellows, who requested a donation to support the July 4 fireworks display, which they traditionally present. Hollister, who noted that he is a member of the Odd Fellows, but didn’t think his membership created a conflict in regards to July 4, said the total cost for the display is about $8,000. Mucher said the Township has typically donated $500 in the past. The event was canceled last year amid the pandemic.

The Trustees’ next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 7, at the new firehouse.


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