Bath, Copley townships healthy, administrators say
Fairlawn Area Chamber hosts State of the Townships presentation
|Bath Township Administrator Vito Sinopoli, shown above, and Copley Township Administrator Janice Marshall, shown below, presented state of the township addresses to members of the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce March 13.|
|Photos: Pam Lifke|
Copley Administrator Janice Marshall and Bath Administrator Vito Sinopoli addressed a full house, including trustees and department heads from both townships, at the chamber’s regular monthly lunch meeting at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.
Both Bath and Copley are on firm financial footing, their administrators said.
Marshall noted townships, unlike cities, are largely dependent on property taxes for their funding. Of the 16.9 mills collected from Copley residents, just 23 percent is returned to the township government. A breakdown of township expenditures shows 60 percent of the budget is for personnel who provide services, Marshall said. Another 30 percent goes to operational expenses and 10 percent goes for capital replacements and improvements. All township departments ended 2016 with healthy carryovers, she added.
Sinopoli noted the aggregate property values in Bath have seen a healthy uptick in the past two years, gaining 1.6 percent in the 2015-16 tax collection year and 1.3 percent in 2016-17. A 1-mill increase in property value equates to about $504,000 in tax collections, Sinopoli said.
The 2017 Bath budget is $12.7 million, a 2 percent increase from 2016, he said. The rise was due largely to wage increases in union contracts, Sinopoli added.
The administrators also gave brief overviews of 2016 accomplishments.
Marshall said Copley police and fire departments each had a record number of calls for service in 2016. The police department responded to 14,700 calls, while the fire department responded to nearly 2,600 calls, Marshall said. In addition, the police department served the community through programs like Safety Town, the award-winning Hidden in Plain Sight exhibit and Share-a-Christmas, and added its first K-9 officer, she added.
Copley’s fire department implemented a regional fire station alerting system with its Southwest Summit Communications (SWSCOM) partners Norton and Barberton that cut response time by more than a minute, Marshall said. The department also won an Ohio Auditor of State Taxpayer Hero Award for the SWSCOM partnership.
Copley’s new Property Maintenance Code already has been a “great positive,” Marshall said. The code, implemented Jan. 1, allows township officials to act on resident complaints about junk cars and blighted properties they previously could not address.
“When we were approaching this, the big fear was that we were going to be viewed as coming down hard on our residents or coming down hard on people who were unable financially to maintain their properties or the elderly,” Marshall said.
However, it’s the township’s goal to help its residents, she added.
“If there’s a need for their property to be maintained that they’re unable to fulfill, then our hope is to find volunteers who are able to help and step in and mow a lot or trim some bushes or paint a house,” Marshall said.
As an outgrowth of the Copley Better Block event last fall, the township has conducted a community perspectives survey, has created a neighborhood map that will be used to schedule meetings with residents and is investigating the benefits of a Community Improvement Corporation, Marshall said.
Sinopoli said Bath personnel continue to provide a high level of services to township residents.
“As I start my fifth year as township administrator, I can honestly say our team of professionals and employees have certainly overdelivered,” he said. “Whether it’s with provision of township services or economic development, Bath Township stands as a model for effective, efficient local government.”
The Bath Police Department had a record 11,558 calls in 2016, including 333 for locked automobiles, Sinopoli said, noting the department is one of the few that still assists motorists in opening their locked cars.
Also of note was the completion of the Tamarack Trail Boardwalk and restoration of the Tamarack Bog at the Bath Nature Preserve. Sinopoli said the bog restoration was totally funded by a single developer as a mitigation offset for a project elsewhere.
The township also is looking forward to the second year of the Bath Art Fest June 17, Sinopoli said. The 2016 festival featured more than 25 artisans, many from Bath, he said.
Bath also signed its first exclusive three-year trash collection contract with Rumpke. Sinopoli said about 3,200 Bath residents have their trash collected by Rumpke and the township last year saw a 100-ton increase in collection of recyclables.
In 2017, the township is looking forward to the completion of a 60-bed Cleveland Clinic postsurgical rehabilitation facility on Medina Road and the start of The Reserve at North Revere, a 16-home development between Smith and Sourek roads on the east side of North Revere Road, Sinopoli said.
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Calendar of Events
- Scrabble Club - 3/26/2017
- Community Art Project - 3/26/2017
- Whispers From Mother Nature - 3/26/2017
- “The Ugly Duckling” - 3/26/2017
- Copley Community Flea Market - 3/27/2017