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Coventry focusing on funding services into future

6/19/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Coventry officials continue to hold strategic financial planning meetings to develop a comprehensive revenue plan that supports the township’s current services for the next six to eight years, Board of Trustees Chairman Dave Calderone has explained.

The fourth meeting concerning this goal was held the morning of June 17 and specifically focused on the funding needed to keep the Fire Department operating sufficiently in the future.

With the current Fire Department levy expiring at the end of 2015, township officials discussed the size of the levy needed to go on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot, Calderone said.

A decision on the matter was not made, officially.

“We do recognize that we must increase our revenue to maintain the current level of Fire Department service,” he said.

The board will hold an additional special meeting on the issue June 24.

“We hope to have all of the information that we need to make the final decision on the type, length and amount of the fire levy,” Calderone explained. “With a decision in hand, we will take the necessary procedural steps to get the levy on the November ballot.”

He said strategic planning meetings will continue for the other services offered in the township, as board members and department heads are dedicated to determining the best solutions for the community.

“We also will begin a public education program to inform the voters of what we need and why we need it,” Calderone said. “It is our hope that an informed voter will see the need and continue to provide the support that we have always enjoyed from our citizens.”

At the June 12 board meeting, he made the public aware township officials continue to consider its cost for policing services.

The township currently contracts with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office to have one deputy on duty in the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 365 days a year, he said.

However, Coventry received word the Sheriff’s Office will be increasing the rate it charges the township for the next three-year contract by 21 percent for 2015 and 2 percent for 2016 and 2 percent for 2017. The cost for next year would be $737,000, Calderone said, and $753,000 in 2016 and $768,000 in 2017. He said the Sheriff’s Office offered discounts in the past that it will not be offering in the new contract.

He explained the township’s current police levy is being collected through 2017, so it would be difficult for Coventry to afford the new contract.

Calderone said the township doesn’t have a “beef” with the Sheriff’s Office but is speaking with neighboring communities about the potential to receive policing services via other avenues.

Also during the regular meeting, the board learned the township will face an increase in what it pays for salt this year. Road Superintendent Lael Stouffer explained the cost for salt will be $10 more per ton than last year.

He additionally told the board the township officially secured a $145,000 grant through the Environmental Protective Agency to fund the second phase of a drainage improvement project around the Cottage Grove subdivision. The project involves the construction of a stream to help fix ongoing flooding issues and improve water quality in the township and around the Portage Lakes, he said.

Also at the meeting, the board publicly thanked resident Sue Johns and her crew for planting flowers in the township, including at the clock tower.

Johns said last month she would spruce up Coventry a little at a time.

Calderone said local residents could further her efforts by donating plants or contributing financially to the efforts. Those interested in helping should call the administration office at 330-644-0785, he said.

In other township business:

  • The Road Department, with funding through Summit ReWorks, will hold a yard waste dropoff June 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Logan Field, 2701 N. Turkeyfoot Road, for Coventry residents. Calderone said yard waste must be bagged or bundled and could only include leaves, weeds, grass clippings and tree branches.
    The township simultaneously will hold a tire recycling event June 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Logan Field. Calderone said residents may drop off their scrap tires at no charge as part of an effort to reduce the breeding of mosquitoes in the township. Representatives from the Summit Soil and Water Conservation District will be on hand to provide information on rain gardens and rain barrels, as well.
  • The Fire Department is sponsoring a blood drive June 27 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Coventry Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive. Donors will receive a free American Red Cross T-shirt, township officials said.

The board’s next meeting is set for July 10 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. The board will conduct a workshop beginning at 6 p.m.

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