Truro looks to COG to save money


By Tara Figurski
Staff Writer

The Truro Township trustees are considering establishing a Regional Council of Governments as part of the Metropolitan Emergency Consortium Communication.

“This is another government entity covered by the Ohio Revised Code,” Truro Township Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Sharps said.

Founding members of the COG are political subdivisions whose governing bodies have taken formal action to approve the agreement and by-laws by June 1, 2015.

Sharps said it took 18 months to develop plans for the Council of Governments. Because no one covered all of the items MECC members wanted to see incorporated, the chiefs created a COG from scratch, he said.

Mifflin Township Deputy Chief Frederick Kauser said that MECC members applied for and were awarded a local government innovation fund grant from the Ohio Department of Development. The grant goal is to encourage agencies to find ways to save money by working together.

“Our trustees have had a relationship for a long time,” Kauser said. “We have shared a couple of different kind of services.”

The COG puts in place statutory relationship that appoints members from each township or municipality to a seat on the board to make decisions. Members of the board will meet quarterly to vote on budget issues, purchases and a variety of other issues.

Participating in the COG realizes a cost savings for townships and municipalities involved. Members will be able to save on everything from medical benefits to uniform costs through their collective buying power, the firefighters said.

Sharps said the five MECC fire departments have roughly a combined total of 355 firefighters. The MECC fire departments are Mifflin, Truro, Violet, Jefferson and Plain townships.

Kauser said COGs have been around since the 1960s, but have primarily been used by teachers and school districts.

Kauser and Sharps made several trips to Dayton to study COGs in place. Dayton townships and municipalities participate in a communications COG to negotiate cable rights for their residents, he said.

MECC members are presenting the proposed ordinances to their townships and expect to have approval in the next three to four months. Once approved it will take up to 18 months to establish the COG.

The COG will formalize the way the members conduct business without changing the way the entities work together to provide training, buy supplies or provide EMS and fire services.

The COG will offer a menu of services but not every member will have to participate in every service, Kauser said.

“Agencies can pick and choose,” he said.

One of the benefits of the COG is members can join and leave as needed. The COG through its governing board may, by a two-thirds vote of the delegates, admit other Ohio political subdivisions.

Any member may withdraw from the organization at any time after it has been a member for two years by submitting its intentions and giving at least ninety days’ written notice, according to the draft ordinance.

A governing board will be established consisting of one delegate from each of the founding members. Delegates will be appointed through formal action by the founding member’s governing body (township trustees, city council, council commissioners, etc.) the legislation states.

Sharps said Truro Township is looking forward to harnessing the buying power of a larger entity.
“Truro is not a huge township,” he said. “We do not have a lot of employees.”

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