Quite a number of significant events and legislation occurred in West Chester Township in 2018. As you read this article you will agree and disagree with some of the Board’s rulings, but please keep in mind that we all live here and do our best to make right decisions for West Chester Township.
We started right out of the gate in our first January meeting with the hotly contested issue of medical marijuana. The board codified in Resolution #04-2018 the township’s position on medical marijuana which was prohibiting medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and retail dispensaries within West Chester Township. Residents for and against the issue came to many meetings in 2017 as we hammered out what the Board thought was best for the Township. Important to note, the prohibition DOES NOT prevent the use of medical marijuana for those people prescribed the drug who have medical conditions that will benefit from taking it!
At the February 27, 2018, our new Township Administrator, Larry Burks, officiated his first meeting of the Board. Larry came from Nebraska with his family to take the lead position in our township and in his first year he has proven to be very capable and a great fit for our township.
In May, two projects for bike/hike and walkability pathways were on the agenda. At the May 8th meeting, funding was requested for the Miami-to-Miami bike/hike trails that would construct a 10’ wide asphalt path from east to west across the township. The price tag was $13.5M and this Trustee thought a project of this magnitude should be on the ballot and voted on by the people. The Board voted not to fund the project. At the May 22nd meeting, the Board voted to approve applying for a grant request to complete the Smith Road Connector that constructs a 10’ wide concrete sidewalk from the Beckett-Smith roundabout across 747 and connect with the existing path west of McDonalds. We’re seeking an 80% grant for a $550,000 project that will be constructed in 2021.
In September, West Chester Township was honored for the seventh time as one of the ‘Best Places to Live in America’. We were 38th on the list.
In October there was a motion to approve a contract and premium rates with Aetna medical insurance for January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019. It was discovered that Aetna, and other insurance companies, were compelled by the Affordable Care Act to offer medical coverage for certain medical procedures that were ethically divergent. The motion was not approved pending a legal opinion by our Law Director, Mr. Don Crain at Frost Brown Todd Attorneys. The legal opinion revealed that Ohio had passed legislation (laws) that prohibited the compelled coverage and limited the scope. If the original motion had been approved, West Chester would have been breaking Ohio law! Modifying the terms of the insurance, the motion past at the next meeting.
It was discovered that the township insurance plan paid for unconditional abortions on demand which was a relatively new change that came in with the Affordable Care Act. The motion was not approved pending a legal opinion by our Law Director, Mr. Don Crain at Frost Brown Todd Attorneys. It was discovered that an Ohio township is NOT permitted to pay for abortions on demand, but only for three instances – health of the mother, rape and incest. If the original motion had been approved, West Chester would have been breaking Ohio law! Modifying the terms of the insurance, the motion past at the next meeting.
Our single November meeting was a BIG spending meeting with 19 expenditures, or requisitions, that required Trustee approval (requisitions are a part of every meeting because any township purchase over $2,500 must be approved by the Trustees). November’s meeting total for all 19 requisitions was $1,716,713.50 of which $1,259,385.00 was for our Police and Fire departments, i.e. safety services. The big ticket items were $824,329.00 to replace all the obsolete Public Safety and Public Works portable and mobile radios and $270,557.00 for nine new police vehicles.
In December, the Board approved the sale of the Station Road Schoolhouse to the Historical Society for $1.00. This eliminates a non-performing asset from our books and just as importantly, gives the Historical Society a home and a place to preserve our rich past.
Finally, also in December, West Chester Township was named the top community to live in Ohio in Money Magazine’s first ever Best Place to Live in Every State.
Your West Chester Township Board of Trustees worked hard in 2018 to keep West Chester Township competitive, sustainable and marketable. All told in 2018 the Board met 26 times and voted on 220 agenda items keeping the township moving in the right direction.