West Township's board of trustees approved the township's 2017 budget, set policies for the year and discussed cemeteries and roads during busy meetings of Jan. 3 and Dec. 20.
As part of required reorganization procedures, the board voted on Jan. 3 to retain Glenn Whiteleather as its chairman and declared Dale Lowmiller vice-chairman for the 2017 year.
Fiscal Officer Jeff Haynam presented a report of the township's estimated available funds totaling $983,293 and the year's budget, which allocates $842,868 of those funds for township operations and programs.
The budget includes, but is not limited to, $167,939 for the township's general fund; $182,700 for the Road and Bridge Fund and $301,500 for the Road District; and $44,000 for the Cemetery Fund.
Other funds are earmarked for street lighting as follows: $4,550 for East Rochester, $1,850 for Bayard, and $210 for New Alexander.
Trustees devoted a portion of the Jan. 3 meeting to a discussion about goals for the board as well as for township employees.
The board agreed that the township would allocate funds as much as possible to ditching and patching work along roadways, though trustees noted they want employees to patch pot holes more smoothly using hot patch and township equipment.
Other goals include completing the layout of a half-acre of grave sites on land purchased to extend Moultrie Chapel Cemetery; purchasing new tires for both of the township's road-side mowing tractors; and upgrading to a newer boom mower.
Trustees also agreed to keep cemetery rates and policies the same this year as were set for last year.
The cost of cemetery lots is $250 per grave for residents and $500 per grave for non-residents. Openings and closings of graves, infant burials and cremations were set at $525 with openings and closings on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays set at $575 per grave.
No burials will be performed on Easter, Memorial Day or Christmas.
Fees for cemetery foundation markers will remain at 65 cents per square inch. Foundations for government veterans markers will remain at $50 each.
A foundation must be two inches wider on all sides than the grave marker and will be poured by Ohio Monument Foundations, Inc. as directed by the board of trustees.
All burials and cremations require a cement vault.
Moultrie Chapel can be rented for weddings or funerals at a cost of $200.
The board voted to retain Charles Curfman to sell graves for the township at a fee of $50, but trustees agreed to take on the rest of the responsibilities for the cemetery sexton position.
Other policies the board approved at the Jan. 3 meeting included the township's culvert policy, which will remain the same as last year, and the mileage rate to reimburse township employees for business-related travel outside of the township.
The culvert policy requires township residents to pay for the materials used for a culvert. The township provides the labor.
The 2017 mileage rate for employees was set at 53.5 cents per mile.
In other business at meetings of Jan. 3 and Dec. 20, the board:
AGREED to continue holding the township's regular meetings on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:30 p.m.
AGREED that Haynam would contact legal counsel regarding a question about whether residents can arrange to transfer their cemetery graves to their heirs upon death and thereby avoid probate court costs.
APPROVED a motion requiring line fence disputes be settled by Ohio Revised Code 971 dated Sept. 30, 2008.
HEARD a resident express concern about people building their fences too closely to township roads, which the resident said makes mowing along roadsides difficult.
APPOINTED Richard McClellan to serve as West Township's representative on the Sandy Creek Joint Fire District Board for 2017 and 2018.
APPROVED a motion to we order new flags, of the same size as currently in use, for all three township cemeteries and the township hall. Flags will be installed before Memorial Day.
APPROVED legislation to accept what trustees said were "minor changes" for the Right to Work in a Township Right of Way agreement for Kettering Road and Lorey Road as part of Nexus Pipeline.
PAID the bills totaling $50,242 at the Dec. 20 meeting.