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Coventry trustees adopt 2014 budget

3/20/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

The Coventry Board of Trustees adopted 2014 permanent appropriations of nearly $6.2 million and warned that increasing expenses spell trouble.

Trustees approved the budget during the March 13 meeting, and Trustee David Calderone noted the township would be dipping into its carryover reserves to fund 2014 expenditures.

“We passed our 2014 permanent appropriations in what appeared to be rather quickly and quietly, and it was anything but that,” Calderone said.

The adoption vote came after several weeks of trustees working with the fiscal officer and department heads who “scoured their budgets,” he said. The budget is very tight, and the township expects increased costs for police protection from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, as well as facing an increase of 17 percent for employee health insurance, he said.

“This is about the time everybody starts to tune us down. … it’s tough for everybody, and we recognize that,” he said.

However, residents need to know the township is deficit spending, meaning it’s dipping into its carryover funds to cover its bills, he said.

“We’re not going to be able to do that for very long,” he added. “Just because it [passing the appropriations] was quiet and because it was quick doesn’t mean it’s not in trouble,” Calderone said.

The board also had public hearings on two proposed zoning changes, both of which were approved.

The board agreed to approve the recommendation of the Zoning Commission to rezone portions of East Waterloo and South Arlington roads from Local Business to General Business, allowing a greater number of uses on the section of Waterloo from Chaffin Road east to South Arlington and on South Arlington from Waterloo to the Interstate 224 overpass. Zoning Inspector George Beckham said the new zoning was a better fit, considering the types of businesses already in that area.

Trustees did not approve a request from owners of 947 Chaffin to change zoning of their parcel from Business to Residential.

Trustees also approved, following a public hearing, a zoning code text change to allow electronic message signs at schools in residential districts. The signs are required to use amber lights and are to be used for informational purposes only.

Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer was given approval to apply for an Environmental Protection Agency Surface Water Improvement Fund (SWIF) grant of up to $50,000 to assist the township in making drainage improvements already in the planning process. Stouffer said the SWIF grant emphasizes improving water quality using designs that emphasize using natural stream features, which is what the township had planned, anyway. No local matching funds are required, he said.

In other action, the board:

  • approved revision of an agreement with Summit County allowing the township to accept an additional $15,000 in Moving Ohio Forward funds to demolish blighted or abandoned structures;
  • approved amending a contract with Gangle Bulldozing to demolish condemned buildings at 46 Organ Ave. and 1175 Lockwood Road using Moving Ohio Forward funding. Beckham said the properties were condemned several months ago in anticipation of receiving additional grant money for demolition. Under the Moving Ohio Forward grant program, demolition must be complete by May 1, Beckham said;
  • adopted the 2013 Summit County Emergency Management Agency Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan;
  • authorized the application for a 2014 ReWorks Community Recycling Access Grant of $9,674. Previous grants have funded the township’s recycling newsletter, leaf pickup and newspaper ads, trustees said;
  • authorized the fire department to apply for an Ohio EMS training and equipment grant; and
  • accepted the resignation of firemedic Michael Goodrich, who is moving out of the state.

The board’s next meeting is set for April 10 at 7 p.m. at Coventry Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive. The board will conduct a workshop beginning at 6 p.m.

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