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Walnut Township seeking $5 license fee

MILLERSPORT – Walnut Township Trustees have scheduled two public hearings to give township residents opportunities to comment on a proposed resolution to set a $5 per vehicle annual registration fee.

The hearings are set for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6 and 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 15. That hearing will be followed by a special meeting to consider the resolution. The resolution must be approved by July 1 to begin collection in 2018.

Most Fairfield County townships already collect their own $5 per vehicle registration fee. Ohio law allows counties to levy a maximum of three $5 annual registration fees. The funds must be used to maintain and repair county roads including the cost of equipment to do so. Townships receive 30 percent of the collections from township vehicle registrations on two of the three county-imposed $5 fees or a total of $3 per township vehicle registration.

Ohio law also allows townships to levy one-$5 per year vehicle registration fee. Proceeds can only be used to maintain and repair township roads including the cost of equipment to do so. Townships receive 100 percent of the fees collected.

The Tax Distribution Section of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles estimates the new fee would raise approximately $34,000 per year starting in 2018 for the township.

The township struggles to come up with about $100,000 a year for road resurfacing and is falling behind.

In an effort to stretch their limited funds for road resurfacing, the township is working with Liberty and Greenfield townships to chip and seal Leonard Road. Road supervisor Tim Morris said it will cost the township about $12,500 for its 1.1 mile portion of the road. “The savings is almost half,” he explained. Liberty and Greenfield townships have been working together for several years. Between the two townships, they own the equipment needed to chip and seal roads. Walnut Township will be contributing the labor of its two-man road crew.

Trustees also agreed to seek bids to chip and seal their “worst road.” That’s Leitnaker Road from Old Millersport Road to Pleasantville Road. Lakeside Road is the next worst according to Morris followed by the rest of Leitnaker.

Morris recommended and trustees agreed that they should delay any major work on Lakeside until a plan is developed to handle the storm water that is currently being directed into the lake through the dam. ODNR told residents in early March that storm water discharges through or over the dam into the lake would be cut off in July. That deadline has unofficially been extended to October. Morris is concerned that a new storm water collection system may affect Lakeside Drive and doesn’t want to redo a road only to see portions of it dug up to install a collection system.

Morris also reported that he hopes to cut the summer mowing bill from about $8,000 to $6,000. Township cemeteries will be mowed once a month, but trustees cautioned him to not let the cemeteries look overgrown. The Fairfield Beach and New Salem parks will be mowed weekly.

In other business at their May 2 meeting, zoning inspector Mike Berry said, “It’s been a busy month.” He said permits have been issued for two new homes and three additions. Two permits have been issued for North Bank projects. Both projects are building up, not out toward the lake.

He noted that ODNR dam tender Pete George is trying to stop one project. Berry said the problem is that the “state turned a blind eye for so many years on encroachments” on state property. Now the state wants to eliminate any encroachments.

“We require a legal survey,” Berry told trustees. “It is difficult to get a legal survey.”

Millersport Fire Chief Bob Price reported that the department has two boats in the lake. One is the shallow water jet boat leased from ODNR. The lease was recently renewed for two more years.

Trustee Bill Yates reported that fuel prices at the new fueling center built at the township garage for use by the township, school district and Village of Millersport are averaging below $2.00 per gallon for both gasoline and diesel fuel.

Fairfield Beach resident Bob Ball said 44 residents turned out for the first meeting to restart the dormant Fairfield Beach Property Owners Association. The group has a slate of officers and “is willing to work.”

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