FT changes meeting time and public comment policy

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township Trustees are changing the way the board operates and how meetings are run.

At a recent meeting, the trustees approved significant changes and explained why they were necessary. One of these changes was the time for board meetings. The board approved changing its regularly scheduled meetings from 6:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. every other Thursday at the township meeting hall, 2193 Frank Road. The reason for this change, according to township leaders, was to accommodate township employees who must attend the meetings.

“First responders start at 6 a.m., so if we can shave off a little time, that would be helpful to employees,” said Aryeh Alex, township trustee.

However, trustee Ralph Horn pointed out that only first responders who must attend the meetings are department heads and most township employees do not have to attend the meetings.

Some residents had concerns about this, saying that it would be hard for them to attend the meetings if they start earlier because of work and rush hour traffic. Many questioned if the trustees would start regularly updating meeting minutes so residents can see what they missed.

“The minutes have gotten out of whack and it is going to take time,” Horn said. “However, yes, we will make sure to update you. Even if I have to mail the minutes to you.”

Currently, the last regular meeting minutes available on the township’s website are from Nov. 2, 2017. The last special meeting minutes available on the website are from Dec. 22, 2017.

The board also approved a resolution that would require residents to sign in to speak at the meetings. The citizens would have three minutes to address the board. The public comments will come at the end of the meeting.

“We are going to try to wait until the end of the meeting to answer questions,” Horn said. “We ask that you be respectful with time, that residents speak at the end of the meeting and that you must sign in.”

The trustees also said these changes will help the meetings move along faster.

In other township news, the board did its annual reorganization, naming Horn the chairman of the board and Alex as vice chairman.

The trustees also approved giving administrative assistant Erin Crome a pay increase from $14 an hour to $16 an hour.

“Erin has worked herself to death this past year and needs a little raise,” Horn said.

Dan Downing, of Friends of the Hilltop, asked the board to support them applying for a grant for 12 street trees.

These trees would be placed at the intersection of Wilson and Broad Street.

“We would like to put these trees in the median (of this intersection) and are asking for your support,” Downing said.

However, the trustees, as well as Franklin Township Fire Chief James Welch express concern about the location.

“For EMS and fire response, that is a hard intersection for us,” Welch said. “When the intersection if full, sometimes we must jump the median, so from an emergency perspective this is not the ideal place for trees.”

Friends of the Hilltop and the trustees then agreed to put the trees on the perimeter of the intersection and proceed with the grant application.

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