By Amanda Ensinger
Franklin Township will revisit joining a consortium with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO).
“I spoke to SWACO and I’d like to get the lay of the land on how this consortium works,” said Steve Mazer, administrator for the township at a recent board meeting. “I have another phone call with SWACO’s attorney so hopefully I will understand how this consortium works and how it affects the residents of Franklin Township. Then I will have a full report for the trustees and the residents.”
For more than two years, residents have been complaining to township leadership about the lack of action by the board related to securing a trash contract as they continue to see prices increase.
Last year, the township was offered an opportunity to join SWACO Consortium II. This would have included Franklin Township, as well as the village of Brice, Clinton, Pleasant, Sharon and Truro townships and cost residents $19.99 a month. This fee would have included trash, recycling and yard waste collection from Local Waste.
Rumpke proposed $21.32 a month for collection, according to township leadership.
The township had until March 22, 2021 to determine if they wanted to enter the consortium, but they opted not to join, upsetting some residents.
“My bill keeps going up,” said Janet Ward, township resident. “If we enter a consortium, we will have set prices for a while and that would better than the contracts we currently are getting on our own.”
Franklin Township trustee John Fleshman said he has seen his bill continue to increase and understands why residents want a consortium. He said recently his bill went up $9.80 a month.
“If we go into a consortium, I’ve heard some people like it because it drives the price down, but how much is it going to drive it down,” Fleshman said. “However, in the consortium, one of the biggest issues is they had a loophole where they were allowed to technically raise money for fuel. So, it would continue to go up, but it will never come down.”
The board agreed to continue to consider the consortium and discuss next steps at a later meeting.
In other news, the board discussed the police levy the township is asking taxpayers to approve and why they are asking for a permanent levy.
“I vowed then that we would build this back,” Fleshman said. “We have good officers and they have been leaving because they look at the history of the township and how many levies have passed and failed. We lose good people because they have their own families and homes and they need a job that they know that they’re going to be there.”
At a recent meeting, the board approved moving forward with a 7.3-mill permanent police levy. This will be the third time the department has asked taxpayers for a levy.
In the fall, the township asked taxpayers to approve a 7.1-mill timed police levy, which would have replaced an existing timed levy that is set to expire at the end of 2022, as well as added an additional 3-mills to the levy.
That levy was rejected by voters with 56 percent of residents voting against the levy. In the spring of 2021, voters also turned down a 7.37-mill levy.