By Dedra Cordle
The Jackson Township road department is set to receive a host of new equipment this year.
At its meeting in February, the board of trustees authorized the purchase of a new backhoe through the Southeastern Equipment Company in the amount of $102,710. It will replace the current model the department has been using for more than a decade.
While township officials say the current model is still usable, its ability to efficiently operate has been diminished through typical weather-related “wear and tear.”
“It has been dealing with the salt and other elements for a long time,” said Township Administrator Shane Farnsworth. “It is clearly showing its wear and tear and we have been having to do a lot of maintenance on it.”
According to Farnsworth, the road department utilizes the backhoe throughout the year.
“It is not solely a one season piece of equipment,” he said. “We use it every week, year-round.”
In the spring, summer and fall, the backhoe can be used to transport gravel, cut down brush, and dig near fire hydrants when repairs or replacements are needed, he said. It is also utilized in the winter to transport salt to other vehicles so the roads can be treated during inclement weather.
“It is one of the important pieces of equipment for our road department,” said Farnsworth. “When it is down, it really limits our ability to respond to these issues.”
He said the department will likely receive their new backhoe in June.
Unlike previous purchases, the township will not finance this order through a long-term loan. Fiscal Officer Ron Grossman said there are enough funds in the road department fund for a lump sum payment.
“It will be nice for us not to have to incur that debt,” said Grossman.
The purchase of a new backhoe comes on the heels of the purchase of two new dump trucks that were ordered last year. That purchase was partially funded through a Volkswagen Diesel Mitigation Truck Fund Grant.
According to Farnsworth, the township covered 60 percent of the total cost for the $250,000 dump trucks. Those trucks were recently delivered to Ace Truck Body in Grove City. Farnsworth said they will likely be put into service by the spring.
In other news, the township is looking for two people to fill two open seats on the zoning commission and one person to fill an alternate seat on the board of zoning appeals. The zoning commissioners serve a 5-year-term and meet as needed.
“We don’t have a lot of rezoning cases because most developments happen in (the city of) Grove City,” said Farnsworth.
He said he has been the township administrator since 2018 and this February marks the first time he can recall the zoning commission holding a meeting during his tenure.
“As I said, they do not meet many times throughout the year but when those requests do happen this board becomes very important,” he said.
The board of zoning appeals is more active, said Farnsworth, meeting almost every month to hear building variances.
He said the ideal candidate for either the commission or zoning appeals is “someone who listens and participates” and “who is going to engage with their fellow board members and the community.”
To serve, one must be a resident of the unincorporated areas of the township.
For inquiries, Farnsworth said to contact him or the administrative office at 614-875-2742. Candidates will be selected by the board of trustees.