By Linda Dillman
The discussion continues in Madison Township on how best to shore up funding for Public Works before roads further deteriorate much further
“The Public Works Department is in dire need of funding,” said Madison Township Fiscal Officer Laurie Vermeer, who outlined possible solutions to the dilemma during the township trustees’ July 9 meeting.
According to Vermeer, the trustees could take action on inside millage—which does not require going to the ballot as long as the cumulative total does not exceed 10 mills—on property in the unincorporated areas of the township. The action could net the department an additional $311,000 and cost taxpayers another $44 a year.
“It would not affect anyone living in the incorporated areas of the township,” said Vermeer.
Another option would involve reducing a fire levy and shifting funding to public works. The impact on the fire department would result in a loss of $1.2 million to $1.35 million.
While the fire department is estimated, as of June 30, to face a $9.96 million carryover into 2020, Vermeer said that is money left in the budget until tax receipts are posted in March 2020 and for future capital improvement projects and costlier items such as equipment. She said it is similar to a personal bank account with a large balance earmarked for a renovation project or other big-ticket expense at a later date.
“I believe we should explore other options, but we need to make a decision soon,” said Vermeer.
The township also has the choice of placing a road and bridge levy on the ballot or doing nothing at all.
According to figures reported during a 2020 annual budget hearing held during the July meeting, $283,000 in the general fund is budgeted for public works department payroll and $381,250 for everything else—including equipment, maintenance and supplies.
Other Madison Township news
•A single bid opening for sale of a public works 2016 John Deere tractor found Russell Herr of Winchester Landscape Gardens the winning bidder at $27,000.
Public Works Superintendent Dave Watkins hoped the sale would bring in $30,000, but said, “It seems that’s ($27,000) going to be the market price.”
Watkins said a previous auction effort brought a high bid of $27,500. However, the auction site would charge a $500 fee and the township rejected the offer, hoping for a higher closed bid.
The bid by Herr was unanimously accepted by the trustees.