SPRINGFIELD TWP. During the May regular Springfield Township trustees meeting, the board adopted a resolution to enact a $5 township motor vehicle license fee increase beginning in January 2021.
Prior to the regular meeting, a special meeting was held to hear public input regarding the license tax. Resident Keith Rutherford questioned the use of the word tax when referring to the license fee. He said that a tax is something voters vote on and a fee is something that can be raised.
He asked if this was a tax or a fee?
Trustee Dean Young said with that definition it is a fee. He said it is connected to the use of the roads and residents pay a fee to get a license. The money that comes from that goes to the maintenance of the roads.
Springfield Township receives $8 of the total amount paid for the license fee. That goes directly to maintaining the roads. Young said the township is permitted by law to add an additional $5 and the reason trustees were considering it was because the additional revenue is needed.
Young said he is not satisfied with the overall condition of the roads. Some are good, some are average and some are in bad shape. He said the township is not spending enough on the roads and there are places that should have been repaved five years ago. Last year, the township spent $80,000 on a paving program.
About three years ago, the condition of the roads were evaluated and it was suggested that the township should be investing $400,000 a year for adequate maintenance. Young said the township had spent about $289,000. With the additional $5 license fee, it would bring in an additional $75,000.
Resident Tom Salhany spoke about holes in the roads and conditions that have not been fixed in more than a year. He said nothing has been done on Scenic Way, Oakwood, Whychwood or Ronald.
He asked who was paying for the work at Wayside on Canton Road?
Young responded that it was a state funded project.
Salhany said there is a lot of salt wasted in the winter as drivers do not shut the salt off when they come to a stop sign and just let it pour out. He said he couldn’t justify the $5.
Rutherford said he understands that the additional fee would not go into effect until January 2021, but asked whether trustees believe that was enough time for everyone to get caught up financially from the pandemic fallout.
Young said they delayed adding the fee for a year. He added that residents will see a reduction in gas tax due to people not driving as much and the more fuel-efficient cars.
In other business, the board:
• Accepted the retirement of long-time director of the cable network Channel 1023 Frank Chenoweth.
• Approved that $12,669 to be paid to the Ohio Auditor of the State for services provided for auditing income revenue and expenditures for the past two years.
• Approved a payment to HJH Consulting in the amount of $1,399 for fiscal office audit and training in the Uniform Accounting Network, township laws, regulations, and other duties for the period of May 1 to May 15.
• Approved a resolution for the lease purchase of the new ambulance funded through the bank in the amount of $141,078. The first payment to be paid June 8, 2021.
• Issued a letter to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking for a representative to attend a meeting in the township to answer questions related to the lake and how the EPA could help to eliminate conditions causing or contributing to toxic algae in Springfield Lake.
The letter stated, “Documentation of that hazard by our local health department has required posting notice to limit or close access to the lake waters this past year. Satellite imagery indicate potential of the same condition this year. This is of vital concern to us affecting the health of our residents and the economic recreational value of our lake.”
At this time, the first community event is planned for July 10, which would be a concert at the lake.