Presenting a levy to voters


Franklin Township Trustees discussed strategies to present their case for the fire levy to district voters at their Sept. 17 meeting.

“We do not want to come out of the levy having said ‘If we had just told them this, then they would have seen things differently,’” said Trustee Tim Guyton.

“We intend to present various home values with the appropriate amount of tax increases along side them, rather than the usual ‘If you own a $100,000 house, your taxes will increase by ‘X’ dollars.’ Too many people do not know how to interpret that to fit their situation or do not know how to figure their own.”

The trustees discussed what the public needs to know in regards to services the township provides and how the possible passage or rejection of the levy will affect those services, as well as when the trustees would try again in the worst-case scenario.

“They’re going to put out flyers and explain to people what they do and put out signs and stuff,” said Trustee Don Cook. “I wasn’t even going to attend because that’s like the fox in the henhouse, because of my feelings on this.”

Cook stated at the meeting he was not going to support the levy because he still had not received the figures promised one month ago by Fire Chief Richard Howard to show that it is cost effective to allow the fire prevention/investigator officer to take a township car home with him to Zanesville.

“I’m on the record that I’m going to oppose the levy. If the fire department has enough money to send a car to Zanesville and back, then they don’t need the money,” said Cook.

Guyton pointed out the reason that Howard did not have the figures as of yet is Guyton himself asked Howard to do some additional research from other township departments in Franklin county, such as providing the amount of staffing by rank and budget for other townships’ fire prevention/inspection departments. 

“I have asked Rick (Howard) to provide additional information, which supported the decision to keep that car in that office before you took office. It will refute anything and everything you’re trying to do,” said Guyton. “This information makes a difference because Don (Cook) continues to state that we ‘waste’ money. I will show that we do not. If time allows, it should be available at our next meeting.”

Fire department tackles windstorm

Howard also pointed out there have been additional hurdles since the windstorm took place Sept. 14. 

“The entire city was busy. I don’t think our equipment was even in the station since we were going from one run to another,” said Howard.

Howard said a lot of the calls had to do with downed wires and pole fires.

“You throw in fire alarms because of power surges and stuff like that. Some alarms are so sensitive and when they’re reset, they set off the alarm, so there are a lot of false alarms,” said Howard.

Guyton discussed the possibility of the fire department keeping a list or a database of “shut-ins,” in the event another power outage occurs for people who use an oxygen tank for health reasons.

Guyton said he does not believe this course of action poses a liability to the township.

“What is does do is it provides a tool from which, when time allows and there is a reason like the event we just went through, we will provide checks of these addresses to verify that things are OK. The responsibility still is on the resident to call,” said Guyton.

Howard said this type of thing had been attempted before with little success and he does not have the manpower to keep the station staffed to take calls or call area residents to check on them.

“We’re not like the city that we have people on staff 24/7. If no one’s here, who’s going to answer the phones? There are 11,000 people in the township, how do we call everybody? ” said Howard.

Howard said if such a database or list is created, the township would either have to hire someone to staff the main office round the clock, or someone would have to get paid overtime to take those calls.

“Is it feasible to bring a person in and pay them overtime, because that’s the law; if the phones are out, now you’re going to go door-to-door and who’s going to afford that time?"

DUI Taskforce

In other board news, the trustees renewed the township’s membership in the DUI Taskforce by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office through the commissioner’s office on behalf of Police Chief Mike Castle.

Castle said this is a yearly contract that will pay policemen overtime for working special events whenever they come up.

“It afford us that if there’s the ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign, all the different special holidays and stuff like that for extra officers to be out there on the street, they’ll pay for that,” said Castle.

Taking out the trash

Guyton said there has been discussion of having a township-wide trash collection with the motive of cleaning up the township and saving taxpayers money.

“We received an email from the Southwest Area Commission (SWAC) asking us if we would be interested in joining the trash consortium,” said Guyton.

Guyton said a trash consortium is a group of entities that have gone together collectively with eight or nine of them under one contract.

“The group themselves develop the contract that is specialized to those groups,” said Guyton.

Two representatives from SWAC will attend the Oct. 2 Franklin Township meeting to present further information on the trash consortium.



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