Township officials said they could use additional money to improve roads.
By STAN DONALDSON
LAKE MILTON -- A special Mahoning County projects unit came here to help Milton Township officials write grants for much-needed state and federal dollars for community improvements.
Joseph F. Caruso, special projects director for the county commissioners, told the trustees and residents Tuesday night that his five-member unit helps provide technical assistance to the county's rural areas on grant funding and project proposal development.
Caruso has traveled to Canfield, Beaver and Springfield townships and the city of Campbell to give similar presentations.
He said each area has different needs but a lot of the same issues are addressed.
Safety forces: "Those communities that have police departments are obviously interested in continuing their safety forces as well as those who have fire departments," Caruso said.
Caruso, added, however, that it would be impossible for his unit to write grants for every issue a township might have.
"That is one of the main things I wanted to stress, because there is no way that we could write everyone's grant, and our intention is to be a resource and to assist them [political subdivisions] in areas that would have the most impact," Caruso said.
A grant takes up to 60 days to complete, and Caruso looks for available money from federal, state and local governments.
Township department heads said several grants that should be addressed include those to improve roads near schools and to purchase bulletproof vests for the police department.
Residents' burden: Al Baker, trustee board chairman, said that without the help of grants, the community would have to thrive on residents' dollars alone.
"In the past, it has been difficult to receive grants year after year, but with the help of the county commissioners' office, this is a big plus for Milton Township," Baker said. "I don't have any present plans, but if we are unable to receive funding, we might have to go down that bridge [raise taxes]. But I would like to think that we can get through this without having to raise taxes."
Russell Neill, 55, of Grandview Avenue, said he found the meeting informative and hopes the community can receive grants to improve roads.
"This is important because this is an expanding area, and we get a lot of large events out here. But without more citizens and a larger tax base, it would be difficult," Neill said.
Mutual aid: In other business, the trustees approved a mutual-aid agreement with the Boardman Police Department that would allow the township police department and Boardman police to assist each other without cost.