By Linda Dillman
Madison Township officials are planning for next year’s capital projects and vehicle expenses in the 2022 budget.
According to Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst, general fund spending could include resurfacing the parking lot from the police department to the public works building, new fencing at the ball diamonds in Brobst Park, and cameras installed at the park and on all buildings.
The projected cost for the parking lot between the administrative building and public works is $35,000 to $40,000. The estimated cost for the police department lot is $32,000.
The Public Works Department is seeking $210,000 for road improvements. To pay for the project, the township is up against 1,300 other townships vying for a piece of an $8 million state pie.
Madison Township Public Works Superintendent Dave Watkins said he would like to upgrade a trailer and purchase an excavator to help with repairs.
“We’re heavily looking at park drainage improvements,” Brobst said, “but we have not allotted any township money for that. We hope to work with our state representative for that.”
Madison Township Fire Chief Derek Robinson said his department held off on capital projects this year due to increased costs and difficulty obtaining materials, so 2021 projects were rolled over to 2022. On the list are radio repeaters, in-house remodeling and a 2023 purchase of a new medic.
Madison Township Police Chief Gary York said his department is looking at interior remodeling, including adapting current offices as a secure processing room.
On the police department’s vehicle list are two new cruisers. In addition, a number of the department’s radios are outdated at least 10 years and York said he wants to slowly start replacing them.
However, when asked how the new radios might impact communication with Fairfield County and coverage of the Canal Winchester area, York said the issue is not with the township radios—which are dispatched through Franklin County. The issue is a failure between two different communication systems between Fairfield County and township officers. He said calls for service in Canal Winchester are routed down to the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office in Lancaster and then dispatched to the deputies in Canal Winchester, which could impact response times. To fill in the gap, York said township officers have additional portable radios that monitor Fairfield County, but they cannot scan the Fairfield County radio system on their main township radios.
“Their deputies on scene may ask their dispatcher to call us, but at the end of the day, it’s two different radio systems,” said York.
Trustee Chairman John Pritchard called the issue a two-fold problem, not just for township residents in Canal Winchester, but for officers as well.
“I don’t understand why Fairfield County is behind,” said Pritchard. “One of these days, it’s going to cost a life. Right now, we’re monitoring the best we can and offer assistance.”
Pritchard recalled an incident a few years ago when township officers were eating lunch in Canal Winchester and there was a bank robbery not far away from them. The only reason they knew something was going on is when they saw cruisers flying past them.
“Our taxpayers deserve better than this,” said Trustee Michele Reynolds.
•Watkins said a recent tire drive collected 586 old tires.
•The fire department received a $6,245 donation from the Knowlton Development Corporation to purchase an inflatable fire safety house that can be taken on the road to students.
“It’s going to be a great resource for our department,” said Robinson. “We’re going to be one of the first to have something like this.”