Trustee displeased with Phase I borrowing plan
The township will use license plate and gasoline taxes to repay the loan.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Weathersfield Township Trustee John Vogel said he sticks to his contention that the township cannot afford to borrow an estimated $157,000 for Phase I of the Niles-Carver Road safety upgrade project.
"I vehemently opposed it," Vogel said.
Vogel said he opposed the borrowing plan for the no-interest loan through state Issue 2 because the loan application's original wording said the money was to come from the township's general fund.
He said other trustees want to use the gasoline and license tax to repay the loan when those funds should be used to fund a capital works project.
"That means I'm right; they're cutting service," Vogel said.
He said the project already is 13 months late on completion, and trustees won't even look at the bids until September.
He said an informational meeting on the project held by trustees Aug. 17 revealed flaws in the plan, adding that two residents near the ravine next to a dip in the road are concerned that drainage improvements will allow septic water to be piped to the ravine, and they have contacted the county health department about it.
He added he wasn't consulted about that meeting when it was scheduled, noting he was supposed to be out of town. He also said he didn't know the meeting was changed from the township administration building to the high school until he read it in the newspaper.
Township Administrator David Pugh said, "If there are issues with septic, they will have to be addressed at the time."
Vogel claims the other trustees must think the project is a good thing to do this year "because it is an election year."
Trustee Chairman Fred Bobovnyk has said Phase I loan will be repaid from the township's $5 license plate tax and gasoline tax revenue.
Vogel said the license plate tax is to be used for "normal paving," which is what trustees told residents when the tax was passed.
He also says the township still faces a precarious position financially, adding that the police department continues to cut costs constantly and won't be able to run a $1 million department for many more years.
Vogel said the $4.2 million township budget includes a $2.6 million to $2.7 million carry-over, which is reduced every year because the township continues to borrow against it.
He added cuts can be expected in the utility tax, which will amount to $100,000 spread across all departments; an inventory tax reduction will mean a cut of more than $50,000 a year; and a return of money from the state to the township, called municipal sharing, is expected to drop 10 percent to 20 percent. The township now gets $50,000 to $70,000 annually.