JT close to deal with Buckeye Ranch

The T’s are not crossed and I’s not dotted, but Jackson Township trustees are moving forward with a 2.6-acre land deal with the Buckeye Ranch.

In discussion for months, as the two parties presented proposals and counter-proposals, an agreement was finally reached for the $365,000 parcel at 2650 London-Groveport Road, declared surplus by the board during an April 15 meeting.

"This has been on the table since September," said Chairman Dave Burris. "We’re waiting on a contract after a counter-offer. This is 2.6-acres behind the fire station that all we do is mow."

Fellow Trustee Bill Lotz said, by selling the ground, it gives the township more access. The township’s counter offer, with the Ranch assuming all real estate commission fees, was good through April 18, although the Ranch has 270 days to close on the site.

"They’ve been a great asset to the community," continued Burris regarding the Ranch, which offers family-focused mental health treatment services for children with behavioral or psychological disorders.

In other news

•The trustees gave final approval to a resolution arranging for the removal of noxious weeds and high grasses. Residents in violation of rules regarding noxious weeds and high grass, who do not take care of the situation, will be billed for the cost of removal and a $100 administrative fee. If the bill is not paid, the cost will be placed on a tax lien.

"As I said in the past, it’s something we won’t tolerate," stated Burris.

•During a caucus session, a representative from Medical Benefits briefed the township on claims, costs, and coverage. Burris said health care costs have gone through the roof and will continue to do so, and the township needs to take measures to educate employees on goals and ways to contain costs.

The trustees approved the group plan renewal with Medical Benefits, which costs employees $84.63 per month.

"Cost saving benefits can help the employee and also the taxpayer," Burris pointed out. "We’ve got to contain health care costs and provide a good benefit for our employees. We also need to educate our employees."

•Following a bid opening on April 1, the trustees awarded a $176,821 HVAC contract, with a $30,234 alternative, for improvements to Fire Station 202 to Speer Mechanical.

Administrator Mike Lilly said the company came in at $5,000 under an engineer’s estimate and has been under another contract to the township for 10 years.

•Prior to the regular agenda, students from Capital University’s MBA program presented financial and operational forecasts for the township. Student James Seay said the presentation’s operational objective was to help Jackson Township address the needs of a growing community.

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