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Apr
24
2024
Miami Township

Miami Township Board of Trustees | Tax rate reduced, grants pursued

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At the Monday, March 4, meeting of the Miami Township Board of Trustees, Trustee Marilan Moir said she recently spoke with Greene County Auditor David Graham, who explained that local millage rates for a 2.4-mill levy passed in 2017 to fund the construction of the current fire station have been reduced over the last two years.

As the News reported in 2022, the $5.75 million price tag for the fire station, and associated millage rate, was based on the Greene County auditor’s expectation of a 5.8% interest rate.

However, the Township received a loan for the building from the U.S. Department of Agriculture with a fixed interest rate of 3%, which effectively lowered the total cost of the build.

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Last year, tax revenue for the levy was reduced to 1 mill. According to Trustee Chris Mucher, even that reduction resulted in more revenue than is needed this year to pay off the bond issue.

For that reason, local taxpayers will see a one-year-long millage rate of 0.1 mills for the fire station on their tax bills — the lowest millage rate the auditor can authorize.

Fire/EMS report

Fire Chief Dennis Powell reported that, since the last meeting of the Trustees, Miami Township Fire-Rescue, or MTFR, responded to 32 EMS calls, 19 fire calls and two mutual aid calls.

According to Powell, MTFR responded to 18 total calls Wednesday, Feb. 28, following a storm. The bulk of those calls, he said, were related to downed power poles and lines as a result of the storm, which caused a power outage throughout the village. Both MTFR and the YS Police Department completed two rounds of damage assessment following the storm by driving every road in the village and surrounding township.

Powell said he, Police Chief Paige Burge and Village Manager Johnnie Burns coordinated an “after-action review” of the storm to assess how they responded to the aftermath of the storm, and said all three were “very much in lock-step.” Powell went on to praise the work of the Village Crew and the responding mutual aid crews from three other municipalities who helped restore power, saying: “Those electric linemen guys were just phenomenal. … I am blown away.”

MTFR pursuing grants

Powell said MTFR is in the process of applying for three grants — two from the Bureau of Workers Compensation, or BWC, and one from FEMA.

One BWC grant for around $2,700, intended to address minimizing firefighters’ exposure to harmful environmental elements on the job, would help MTFR purchase replacement structural fire gloves and structural firefighting hoods. Another $40,000 grant for safety intervention — in this case, to reduce back injuries among EMT staff — would help fund the replacement and repair of motor-lifted cots on ambulances. Powell added, however, that the grant would only cover about two-thirds of the cost, and that the Township would be responsible for about $28,000.

“Our share obviously is pretty concerning, when we talk about budget, so we’ll just have to see where that goes,” he said.

Powell said a BWC representative encouraged MTFR to apply for the grants at a recent Fire Chiefs Association meeting, and that he anticipates MTFR will receive the grants.

The FEMA grant, however, he said is “highly competitive.” MTFR has applied for a $275,000 grant, which would pay for self-contained breathing apparatuses, air cylinders, rapid intervention bottles, structural turnout gear, extrication tools and supply line. These “high-ticket items,” Powell said, will otherwise be capital expenditures, and added that MTFR won’t know whether they receive the grant for several months.

Other fire/EMS updates

Powell asked the Trustees to approve the appointment of Kent Wardecke, a local resident and retired Dayton fire captain and paramedic, as a volunteer. They did so unanimously.

He also asked that the Trustees write a letter to Greene County Engineer Stephanie Goff requesting that a 55-mph speed limit sign be posted within the township on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road — a request he said he has made in the past, but which has received no response.

Powell said that, because there is no sign indicating the 55-mph speed limit outside village limits on Dayton-Yellow Springs Road, drivers often travel far above or below the speed limit.

“It is apparent that that is, to me, a significant safety issue,” Powell said. “I think it would be beneficial to the township if a letter like that was written.”

Trustee Chair Don Hollister agreed to write the letter on behalf of the Township.

Later in the meeting, Trustee Vice Chair Marilan Moir reported that Tecumseh Land Trust, or TLT, had requested that MTFR perform a prescribed prairie burn at Glass Farm. Powell responded that MTFR could not perform the burn because the brush fire truck is currently out of commission while it’s being repaired. He added that he believed Glass Farm’s proximity to homes in the Thistle Creek neighborhood presents a safety issue. However, Powell said, TLT had communicated a desire to burn a small “test patch” of prairie at Glass Farm, to which he agreed.

Zoning inspector report

Denise Swinger, who is currently acting as interim zoning inspector following the termination of Richard Zopf in December, presented a report. Over the last few months, she said, she’s issued three permits and scheduled two hearings before the Township Board of Zoning Appeals with property owners requesting zoning variances.

Acknowledging that part of her term as interim zoning inspector includes writing a job description for a permanent replacement in the position, Swinger said she’s currently “keeping a Band-Aid” on zoning matters.

“There’s a lot that needs to be done, in my opinion, especially with record retention, record-keeping,” she said.

By way of example, Swinger said permits issued over the last 40-plus years have been filed sequentially, rather than by address, making it difficult to research what permits have been filed for a property in the past.

“I really think somebody could work 16 to 20 hours [as zoning inspector],” Swinger said. “I think that person should have regularly scheduled hours, even if just a couple times a week … so that people know the office is open and can expect someone to be here.”

Swinger said she’s begun drafting a job description based on her experiences in the position thus far, and will present it to trustees in the future to adjust and then approve.

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