On Tuesday July 26th the Suffield Township trustees met at the appointed time and usual place. After an hour of hearing Kelly Austin's presentation on risk management, the trustees should have been happy to get back to the real business of governing the township. But instead, they were faced with a number of complex problems, none of which have easy solutions.
Trustee Jeff Eldreth motioned that the township award Perrin Asphalt the contract to pave Palm Road, from Trares Road to Randolph Road, at the cost of $76,000. He mentioned that the chip & sealing this year would cost about $60,000 to $70,000, or about $30,000 less than had been budgeted for. Only because of this savings did the township have sufficient funds to go forward with the Palm Road project. There was a complaint of speeders on Martin Road, a mention of a series of thefts in the area, brush and trees growing out of control in East Lawn Cemetery, the continuing problems with yards that need mowed and a couple houses that are abandoned, or at least condemned, that need to be demolished. It was noted by trustee Dave Vartenuk that the house on Carriage House Lane that has sat unfinished for more than two decades is now set for Sheriff's Auction early in August.
As if the above wasn't enough to grow gray hair on the heads of the township leaders, the most important issue of the evening was how to stretch the budget to cover expenses. Fiscal Officer Lori Calcei said that the Road Department budget and the Fire Department budget are in good shape, but the General Fund budget is problematic and has been for the last several years. In order to make it through 2016 with enough carryover money of the first quarter of 2017, some funds needed to be rearranged. Normally, the salaries of the Fiscal Officer and the trustees are paid from the General Fund account, but after a vote by the trustees tonight, one third of the salary paid to the trustee (Tom Calcei) who oversees the Fire Department will come from the Fire budget, rather than the General Fund. The same will happen to the salary of the trustee (Jeff Eldreth) overseeing the Road Department. Two thirds of the Fiscal Officer's salary will come from both the Road and Fire Department budgets. This measure was deemed necessary in order to make sure enough money was carried over to pay township salaries and bills in the first quarter of 2017. Projections showed that the Fire and Road Department budgets were sufficiently funded, but the General Fund was lacking. Lori Calcei said that the township has typically had about $171,000 to spend on General Fund expenses, but also typically is spending about $181,000.
Another issue that the trustees reluctantly agreed upon was to put a one mill levy on the November 1st general election ballot. In order for this to occur the trustees were forced to vote on the issue tonight, as ballot issues must be submitted to the Board of Elections at least ninety before the affected election date. A one mill levy will generate $136,000 per year for the township according to Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito.
Among other things discussed, Tom Calcei said that Bill Steiner of the Portage County Solid Waste Management told him they would still accept resident's cards on the recycling issue until August 1st. Thus, as your opinion matters, you can still send in your poll card. Due to a variety of reasons, if the township were to decide to go with curbside recycle pickup, it wouldn't begin until at least November at the soonest according to Steiner. The township is hosting the Portage County Township Association quarterly dinner meeting in August. Hard as it is to believe, former trustee Dave Polen reserved a pavilion at Wingfoot Lake State Park about a year ago, but the park double booked the pavilion that was to be used for the event. The dinner meeting had to be moved to the Suffield United Church of Christ.
The trustees meet again on August 9th at 8:00 PM. The Board of Zoning Appeals have no hearings scheduled and the Zoning Commission does not meet in August. The trustees also rescheduled their August 23rd meeting until August 30th at 8:00 PM.