BUTLER TOWNSHIP — The Butler Township Trustees formed a Budget Commission as an advisory committee to the Trustees on Monday evening.
The seven member Board will consist of five citizens in addition to the Township Fiscal Officer and Administrator. Of those five citizen appointees, one will be appointed directly by each Trustee – without a vote – and the other two shall be filled by a unanimous vote of the Board of Trustees.
While it is not stated in the Budget Commission document, it appears there is no provision included in case the Trustees cannot come to unanimous agreement.
Trustee Mike Lang voted against the commission because he opposed the direct appointments and claimed that the method of appointment had been changed.
All meetings of the commission will be open to the public and will require notice to the public. It’s goals will be to review the current and previous budgets and to make recommendations to the Trustees how to control or eliminate shortfalls.
The Trustees met in executive session after the meeting to discuss personnel matters and the sale or purchase of real estate. While the subject matter of the personnel issues was not disclosed, it did not include the hiring of a new police chief.
Ruth Kissler, a resident, asked the trustees if a police chief would be discussed and was told no even though the current contract with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for the services of Acting Chief Rob Streck expires in May.
“We are not ready to make a decision in that area, not even close,” said Trustee Joe Flanagan. “We haven’t decided the future of the Township Police Department or whether we are going to go to the Sheriff’s Office.”
Flanagan acknowledged that the trustees have asked the Sheriff’s Office for a proposal to take over policing the township.
“How do we maintain the police department at a certain level?,” asked Flanagan. “We have a deficit in two years. It doesn’t help the morale of the police department to keep discussing things that are in a gray area.”
Lang, who has been a proponent of promoting Lt. Chris Guthrie to Chief and opposed to the Sheriff taking over policing, disagreed.
“I believe we should maintain our police force,” said Lang.
Trustee Nick Brusky, who advocated a contract for Streck to serve as Acting Chief, said his goal was to put officers on the street.
“I don’t care what patch they wear, but I want to put as many officers on the street as possible,” he said.
In other action, the Butler Township Trustees:
- Honored Kathy Garver as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the President’s Club of Vandalia-Butler;
- Declared April as Fair Housing Month;
- Authorized Acting Administrator Erika Vogel to enter into an agreement with Bladecutters Lawn Service for grass cutting in rights-of-way and township properties at a cost of $16,725;
- Authorized Vogel to purchase two police vehicles from Lebanon Ford at the state bid price of $61,582. Trustee Mike Lang noted that no local dealers can match the state bid price hence the purchase from Lebanon Ford. The vehicles will be equipped at KE Rose in Huber Heights at a cost of $11,515.95 each;
- Authorized an agreement with Christian Life Center for a uniformed police officer at special events at a cost of $65 per hour, a $5 per hour increase from 2015;
- Authorized Vogel to sell four surplus radios to the City of Vandalia at a cost not to exceed $2,500 each;
- Amended the police revenue budget up to $440,328.41 to reflect a larger amount of JEDZ tax revenue than budgeted;
After the business items were concluded, Brusky told the audience that he would like to investigate whether the trustees should consider putting an energy aggregation issue before the voters.
“I think we need to take a look at this and speak to the board about the possibility of putting an aggregation issue before the voters,” said Brusky. “I’d like to see if aggregation is a vehicle we can use to control electricity and natural gas rates for our residents.”
Voters in Huber Heights are deciding an electricity aggregation issue at the ballot on Tuesday, March 15.
The Butler Township Board of Trustees will hold their next regular meeting on Monday, March 28 at 7 p.m.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.