2008-08-23 / Editorials & Letters

Bowling Green 'watchdog' impressed with Hart

Editor:

Last Monday (August 11), I attended the Licking Township Board of Trustees special meeting. I decided to go to the meeting after reading a Beacon story about the special meeting. It was about placing an additional tax levy on the November 4 ballot for fire and EMS services. I felt this meeting could impact our township as well, since Bowling Green Township contracts with the Licking Township Fire Company.

I came away highly impressed with the organizational skills, communications, preparation and especially the conduct of the meeting by their newly elected trustee Joe Hart, who serves as Board President.

Joe Hart ran an excellent meeting, deliberated his views on the subject quite effectively and was obviously quite prepared to entertain/discuss several "different" options. He allowed each trustee to deliberate in detail and showed respect for each of their points of view. Anyone could certainly tell Joe has the right attitude, verbal/ communication skills, background, life experiences and most important the "leadership skills" to be the Board President.

In the end, after allowing Fire Chief Mike Wilson ample time to explain his main points on several occasions, Joe Hart was able get the Board to come to a consensus. Based on what I heard, I have to agree with the comment in the Beacon article that this may well be the most important decision that this Board has to make for some time to come. But with people like Joe Hart working on the issues, Licking Township is in good hands.

Unfortunately, our township is quite another story. If we had a Board President with even half the skills that Joe Hart demonstrated, I would not be spending my time going to all of our township meetings and writing Letters to the Editor. Case in point, at our recent July township meeting (theater of the absurd) Trustee Jeff Chorpenning asked our President several detailed questions about the recent advertisement of the chip/seal and asphalt paving contract. As usual, he received a "non-answer" to each question. The only comment back was "I didn't do nothin' wrong, I only called them up". His questions were reasonable and deserved individual responses. You can read each question on the township website (www. bowlinggreentownship.com)

One comment made by Trustee Chorpenning warranted further deliberations by our GOB`s, but interestingly not one comment was made. His comment was about the cost of asphalt and what we could do to try to lower it in the future. It was based on a recent Advocate story that included a comment about how County Engineer Tim Lollo had reduced their costs from $60-70 a ton down to the $40 range. How was that done? Well, by "combining" several individual projects on one Request for Bids. Basically this is a "economy of scale" issue; the more tonnage you contract for the lower your cost per ton. It also creates more interest/competition for your job(s).

Chorpenning's idea is to have our township plan ahead and then add our estimated tonnage to the county's request for bids next year. This could save the township thousands of dollars each year and allow more roads to be resurfaced each year.

Personally, I believe this is a great idea and is the "out of the box" thinking we need by our elected officials, rather than the same old "the way we have always done it" routine. This suggestion needs to be pushed up to the County Commissioners and County Engineer for further discussion as soon as possible.

While we are discussing public roadsand the County Engineer, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 5543.09 Supervision by County Engineer, explains how he shall "supervise" the township trustees when it comes to the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and improvement of public roads. ORC 5543.02 Annual Report actually requires the County Engineer to report to the County Commissioners and make annual estimates for the Board of Trustees. Plus ORC 5543.06 Annual meeting of county & township authorities (meaning trustees), requires the County Engineer to call a meeting "annually", where he shall "instruct the proper authorities as to the best and most economical methods for repairing & maintaining the roads & bridges". Quite interesting to me was that this meeting is to be "open to the general public". I may have missed this previously, but I sure wonder if/when it will be advertised to the public?

Will "Watchdog" Kern Bowling Green Township

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