Newton Township – The January meeting of the Board of Trustees opened at 7:30pm with all members present. Business was as usual with reports from the zoning director, the sheriff’s department, and cemetery news. The road crew reported two new street signs and two stop signs that had been stolen and replaced, as well as general plowing and salting efforts. The crew has ordered seventy-five ton of salt and seventy-five ton of mixing to help drivers get through the typical Midwest winter.

By way of Township finances, Ella Johnson discussed increases to annual expenses and Mr. Nemet announced that the Township will be saving some money this coming year – the next five years, as a matter of fact. Every year the Township contributes monies to help with the operating costs of the Newton Falls Joint Fire District which is responsible for keeping the citizens of not only the city but the township safe. Each year the contribution automatically increases by 3%. It has been decided that the Township’s annual contribution will be frozen at the amount given in 2010 which was $53,758. This freeze will be active for the next five years so that the years 2011-2015 will remain the same. For 2011 the Township is saving $1,612 but over the next five years the savings will be $25,177 for not automatically increasing the contribution. Mr. Nemet stated that the “fire department will be able to survive without that money” and now the Township will not be seeking a levy on township residents to help out with that annual contribution increase. The next increase will be in 2016.

Also in fire department relations, the NFJFD has been utilizing a building across from Arby’s to store a few of the fire trucks. This garage is currently owned by the Township, which also stores some vehicles and supplies there. It was proposed that the Township offer the building up for sale to the fire department for $50,000, payable over the next five years as a $10,000 decrease from the now-frozen annual contribution. The trustees plan to schedule a special meeting to discuss the actual selling price, whether to raise or lower it, or even the possibility of simply donating the building to the shared fire district as a goodwill gesture. An audience member inquired if the fire department was ever going to build the new station over by First Street, but that project is at an indefinite standstill.

In other news, Mr. Page reported that the pressure washer is having mechanical difficulties. Mr. Augusta said that they are working on updating and upgrading the website. He mentioned last month’s meeting about the fracking and reported a “good turnout” of about a hundred people. There will be an upcoming meeting on February 15th in Liberty that will discuss how the oil industry operates as well.

Back in November possible changes to the cemetery guidelines were  discussed about  to determine residency versus non-residency rates and other potential alterations. The goal was set to close that subject by the February meeting.
Other highlights include updates to the employee handbook, and a motion passed unanimously to give the Cemetery Association $1,000 to offset the cost of moving trees.
There was no new business except to pay the monthly bills and the meeting adjourned in just under an hour.