Messenger photo by Linda Dillman
|Madison Township trustees (left to right) Victor Paini, Ed Dildine, and Gary McDonald received an Air National Guard Hometown Hero Salute award from firefighter Lt. Mark Ballenger, who is also a member of the guard and has deployed on multiple occasions to the Middle East|
The Madison Township trustees were recognized for their support of employees in military uniform with a Hometown Hero Salute award following multiple deployments by township personnel.
Madison Township Fire Department Lt. Mark Ballenger presented the medal during a Sept. 19 trustee meeting. He said the Air Force gives service members awards and medals for their accomplishments and felt the township deserved one as well.
"I felt we received tremendous support from the trustees while we were deployed," said Ballenger, who joined the fire department in 1996 and was previously deployed to Bahrain and Kuwait as a member of the Air National Guard. He served on active duty from 1984-94 and then spent two years in the National Guard before leaving the military.
Ballenger re-enlisted in the guard shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighter Jeremy Irwin was also deployed by the military. He started working for Madison Township in 2009.
"When there were insurance changes, Mrs. Brobst would call my wife," said Ballenger. "I would get email from the chief, other members of the department and guys on my shift. My wife and I farm and guys would call us up and volunteer to help with the farming. It was like a family support center that you have on military bases. There are not a lot of employers like that. What they do allows us to concentrate on what we do and I can’t thank them enough for their support."
Township election issues
Madison Township voters will face a pair of ballot issues on Nov. 6 which would give the trustees permission to explore utility options in lowering bills for residents.
Issue 41 is a resolution to allow the township to create an electric aggregation program, potentially as early as January. Issue 42 would create a similar program for gas aggregation, although its rollout would be later because of market conditions.
Ohio law allows for communities to form aggregated buying groups to purchase electric generation and transmission on behalf of citizens. The aggregation affords better buying power and entities can negotiate a better price with a supplier than individuals.
If the issues are approved by voters, residents do not need to do anything to join the program if trustees decide to move forward with an agreement. However, anyone who does not want to participate can opt-out and remain with their current utility.
The township has scheduled public information meetings on Oct. 23 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to discuss the program.
"Reynoldsburg has a similar program for their residents," said Scott Belcastro, who presented information on the program. "It’s a good program to be a part of and it doesn’t mean you have to move forward. It’s structured such that you are guaranteed savings off of your current rates."
The township recently switched electric suppliers to save money and hopes to do the same for citizens living in the unincorporated areas of the township. Brobst previously said, although residents living in the southern end of the township would vote on the issue, they receive their electricity through South Central Power, which is a co-op and provides rates lower than surrounding carriers.