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Nelson Township Considers another New Truck

Nelson Twp. – The Nelson Township Trustees met for their regularly scheduled meeting last week with Chairman Jim Turos, Tom Matota, Joe Leonard, and Fiscal Officer J. David Finney in attendance. There were also 15 others in attendance. The meeting was called to order by Chairman Jim Turos at 7:30 pm. Fiscal Officer presented for signature two cemetery deeds,the bank reconciliation and bills and wages totaling $35,082.12. The board approved the bank reconciliation and signed cemetery deeds. Finney also presented a letter on whether they wanted to continue to fertilize the trees on Nelson circle. The board agreed to continue fertilizing the trees. Matota asked the board to formalize a procedure on the end of the year/ new year transition. After some discussion he proposed that the board meet as close to 12/31 as possible to complete the current year’s business and on the first regularly scheduled meeting of the year, open the new year’s business. The EPA has offered municipalities a grant to replace older diesel vehicles with newer ones through an 80/20 matching grant. Matota announced that they decided to apply for the grant and take advantage of the county’s offer to use their grant writer. A resident questioned when they decided to do this? The resident stated that they were in violation of the Sunshine Laws if they made a decision without having a formal meeting. Matota replied with, “I may have used the wrong word. We didn’t decide on anything, we just moved forward with the grant application and will decide later if we get the grant on whether we purchase a truck or not.” Another resident asked whether the township could afford the truck and questioned where the money would come from, Matota replied with “How can we not afford it with an 80/20 matching grant?” He said the money would probably come from the road and bridge fund. The trustees are still waiting on approval for Pierce Road Project. Leonard asked the board if they would still supply the porta- johns for the park this summer the porta-johns will be $70/ month and they will be at the park from May until October. Leonard stated that the board received a letter regarding the US Liquids property. Portage County Health Department has cited the owners for health violations. Leonard also said that he heard back from the EPA and they said the raceways and holding tanks contain nasty stuff. They never used the word toxic so the trustees still do not know what they are dealing with. Turos reported that a company hired by the bank estimated the cost of the clean-up of the U.S Liquids property will be nearly $500,000 leaving the bank which has the receivership of the property responsible for the costs. Once the estimate was received, the bank has decided that it will not pay $500,000 for the clean-up but would spend about $50,000, causing the company to withdraw its offer. The situation is in the hands of the Portage County Health Department. The trustee said the mess inside the building resembles a garbage dump and is loaded with rats. Road supervisor reported that the water well was serviced, the pressure tank and bladder were replaced and the water was tested. Right now they are waiting on the results. The drawings for the handicap ramp are finished and Chuck Vanek will get material costs together for the project. Matota raised questions on the ramp and will meet with Vanek over the specifics. A discussion was held when a resident questioned the logs in the ditch at the corner of Knowlton Road and Shanks-Down Road that are causing flooding. The logs are on the east side of the road and are in the Nelson road right-of-way. Matota said they would do nothing with them. The resident said that Southington said they wouldn’t move them either. After a long discussion with the road supervisor on the location of this issue, Matota said he would have to go out there and look at the situation and he will address the issue with the landowner. Vanek stated that they needed to order new flags for the telephone poles for this summer. He said they would run nearly $900 for the flags; trustees approved the measure. Vanek wanted permission to trim/cut trees and branches back on Pierce Road while the road is closed. Matota said they needed the county engineer to come out and stake where the right-of-way is prior to cutting/trimming any trees. Matota brought up the township installing new or replacing driveway culverts on township roads issue again and said he would write up a proposal that would address the issue and present it to the board next month. Nearly two hours into the meeting, the board introduced guest Mark Russell from Ellerhorst Insurance Company. Mark presented them with the new insurance policy for buildings, equipment, and vehicles. The policy as it is currently written will run $11,872/ year. Russell recommended that because of the way the laws have changed they might want to consider carrying police liability insurance that is about $200 more a year. The coverage would protect the township when any law enforcement agency works in the township and may cause an issue for someone to sue the law enforcement agency and hold the township responsible for the law enforcement agency’s actions; the township would be covered. After some disagreement on the issue (Leonard thought they should purchase it and Turos and Matota said they shouldn’t) the board declined police liability coverage. There were many issues on the policy that the trustees wanted to possibly amend so Finney will pay the premium listed and the township will be billed for the amendments. Mark Russell will look at costs for possible amendments. Trustees agreed to waive the fee for the Community House rental for the Amish school auction and the after-prom committee pancake breakfast. The trustees announced the open house for the food bank would be held March 10, 2012 2pm -4pm; the annual Easter egg hunt for children 3 years old to 10 will be held March 31, 2012 2pm at Pixley Park; if it is raining, they will move it to the Community House. The board approved the payment of the bills and wages then opened the floor for questions. A resident questioned the not-for-profit use of the community house. The resident wanted to know who has the authority to waive the fee. They thought it had to be a trustee. What criteria do they use etc? Which resulted in Turos taking offense with folks questioning the caretaker’s integrity on the issue. He made a phone call to Michelle Cmunt who is responsible for renting the Community House. She said in the past that this group had a tax-exempt number and the board had waived the fee previously; the group will present the tax exempt number to her. This brought up a question from Jim Turos on why a certain group only pays $20 / month to use the facility every week. Which led to Matota questioning why they had rules for the facility if they were not going to follow them? Matota was addressing the situation where they opened the Community House for a meeting on a legal holiday. These questions and discussions dragged the meeting out to nearly three hours. Finally the meeting was adjourned. The trustees meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 pm at the community house. More township information can be found at www.nelsontownshipohio.org