UNION TOWNSHIP – Like most of the area, Union Township could be facing a salt crisis if snowy weather continues this winter.
“Every incident takes about 40 tons of salt,” said Trustee President Rick Black Wednesday morning, after the township received roughly six inches of snow Tuesday night. He said the township has 200 to 300 tons of salt remaining for the year, and has “maxed out” its allotment for the year. “Everybody’s out of salt,” he said. Black said the township should be fine if there are only a couple snow events remaining this year, but if it ever snows for several days in a row, “We’re in trouble,” he said.
Union Township isn’t the only lake area community with only about two snowstorms worth of salt remaining. For example, Thornville Mayor Gavin Renner said his Perry County village only has eight tons of salt in storage. “It takes approximately four tons to do the village, which means we have about two more snowstorms,” he said. “We have 21 tons on back order. I’m assuming other communities are experiencing the same.”
In other township news:
• Trustees compared notes on their individual road inspections. The first step for roads needing chip seal or motor paving is to get estimates from the county engineer’s office. Chip seal estimates are being sought for:
• Canyon Road north of Seminary;
• Fairmont Addition;
• Duck Run Road;
• Granview Road;
• Jones Drive;
• Owens Drive; and
• Reinhart Drive
Trustee Charles Prince said Granview Road would likely need more than merely a chip seal coating. “There’s an ugly contrast at the Granville Township line,” he said, adding Union Township may want to consider motor paving (asphalt) for Granview. Trustees agreed to also get a motor paving estimate for Granview Road.
Trustees had a lengthy list of roads needing spot crack sealing and repair. Prince said there is a lot of Durapatch work, suggesting that trustees see if Licking Township is willing to sell some hours on their Durapatcher. Black agreed, but wants to get a price on Licking Township also doing the work.
Depending on Licking Township’s interest in sharing the machine and the costs to do so, Prince said it might make sense for the township to purchase its own Durapatcher. “ODOT is sold on them,” he said. “It does a great job.” Prince thought their might be several hundred hours of work with a Durapatcher this summer.
Trustee John Slater wondered if the township had any equipment that they might exchange with Licking Township for use of the Durapatcher. Black said in Union Township Granview and Beaver Run roads likely have the most traffic of township roads outside of the industrial park.
• Black brought up the difficulty of lowering speeds on township roads. “We can’t do it without a hassle,” he said. “The (county) engineer said, no.”
Prince previously suggested getting traffic counts on major township roads to help set repaving priorities. Traffic count data must be provided as part of the lengthy process to reduce speed limits on a case-by-case basis. He suggested picking the most dangerous road for speed, gathering traffic count data and then going through the process with ODOT.
• Licking Cemetery Association Chair Henry Porter told trustees that he has signed a contract for about $30,000 worth of monument restoration work. The work won’t begin before June and the contract can be terminated at any time. The township is in the process of taking over the cemetery from the association, but it hasn’t happened yet. Porter said the cemetery still has roughly 100 plots available.
Black said Wednesday that the cemetery has some broken and leaning gravestones, which need to be repaired and straightened. “We want to make it look like somebody cares,” he said.
Porter said the cemetery won’t really be attractive until the old abandoned Baptist church is removed from near the Beaver Run and Canyon roads intersection. He asked if trustees would declare it a safety hazard so it could be removed. “We’ve got to get that church out of there,” he said.
• As Licking County Board of Elections officials decide where the county’s polling places will be in future elections, Black said he’d rather the board of elections didn’t send voters from the township, Buckeye Lake Village, and Hebron to the Union Township Complex to vote, as happened in the November election.
“It went smoothly here, but it was a light turnout election,” he said, adding that the complex couldn’t handle a presidential election. The board of elections meets Feb. 11 to discuss consolidating polling places. To cut costs, the board combined polling places all over the county. Locally, Buckeye Lake voters were forced to travel seven miles outside of the village to vote at the Union Township Complex after the board shut down the Buckeye Lake polling place at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church, as well as Hebron’s polling place at the American Legion Hall.
Administrator Paula Greene said it’s fine to have Union Township voters come to the complex, but it’s tough to accommodate everyone else. She said the complex hosted 100 voters per hour in November.
Black said the complex is a better place for Union Township voters than the previous township location at Infirmary Mound Park. “I understand (the county) cutting costs, but they’re also providing a service (to voters).”
Trustees said they appreciated giving back to the community, but having everyone from Buckeye Lake Village and Hebron voting at the Union Township Complex was a “stretch.”
• Prince brought up the outline he drafted after trustees Jan. 13 meeting, detailing his proposal to hire a summer college intern to assess the status of the township’s portion of the Newark Industrial Park and other large large commercial/ industrial properties in the township. He estimated the project would cost $4,000 to $5,000. Prince said the township lacks a good economic database. “We need to do something,” said Prince. “There’s plenty of work here to be done.”
Black said trustees should consult with Southgate Corporation President Robert O’Neill before starting the project and “get him on board.” He doesn’t want to jeopardize the township’s relationship with Southgate. Prince agreed to talk with O’Neill, but doesn’t believe Southgate should have veto power to stop the project.
• Black suggested the township partner with the Grow Licking County Community Investment Corporation, which is a public/ private partnership designed to provide economic developers one unified source for information regarding potential Licking County development opportunities. “It might be time for us to get on this bandwagon,” he said.
Black said trustees would have to figure out how much money the township could afford to invest in the corporation. He will invite Grow Licking County director Dan Evers to the March 3 trustees meeting.
Trustees unanimously approved the formal resolution placing the electric aggregation issue on the May 6 ballot.
Last month, trustees approved a resolution selecting Trebel, LLC as its aggregation consultant. The firm, at no cost to the township, will publicize and explain the ballot issue to voters. If voters approve the measure, Trebel will then seek bids from all qualified electric suppliers in Ohio to get the best deal for township residents.