Ohio township trustees discuss road, cemetery grants


GREENVILLE — The Darke County Township Trustee Association held their annual fish fry at VFW Post #7262 in Greenville Tuesday night. Township trustees from throughout Ohio were present for the event, along with a number of county officials. The event was hosted by Greenville Township trustee Justin Hines and his wife, and featured music by the Arcanum High School Jazz Band.

Township Association executive director Matt Temple was the primary speaker at the event. He opened his remarks by talking about a recent attempt by Ohio Public Employee Retirement System (OPERS) administrators to change the formula for calculating Ohio’s annual cost of living raise for public employees, lowering the amount of the raise from three percent annually to no more than 2.5. According to Temple, a council responsible for overseeing the actions of OPERS administrators shot the proposal down.

“I’m happy to report that piece of legislation has died,” Temple said. “And I’m sure a lot of people here had something to do with that.”

Temple also mentioned Ohio House Bill 415, a measure pending in the Ohio senate that, if passed, would create a local government road improvement fund. (Roads within the county that fall outside city or village borders are a major part of the area township trustees are responsible for).

“You’re not dreaming,” Temple said. “Believe it or not, I actually said that.”

Under the new legislation, according to Temple, half of any surplus from the state’s budget each year would go toward funding a grant program for local road improvements. Temple said the measure is well on its way to being passed.

“It already passed the House, which means it’s halfway home to becoming law,” Temple said.

According to Temple, another bill pending in the Ohio Senate, H.B. 168, would create a grant program to help defray the cost of maintaining cemeteries, another common township responsibility.

“It’s going to create a little more paperwork than you’re probably used to,” Temple said. “And it requires that cemeteries must be maintained to some reasonable standard.” According to Temple, however, the bill could generate up to $115,000 annually for training of cemetery personnel and upkeep. The funds would come from an already existing $2.50 fee currently assessed for all burials in Ohio.

Finally, Temple spoke about House Bill 500, which he said contains a number of components relevant to township trustees, including provisions that would require an inventory to be kept of all township property, including buildings and equipment; as well as a measure that would require county commissioners to get township approval before abandoning or vacating roads.

Greenville Township trustee Justin Hines addresses the crowd at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Darke County Township Trustee Association.
https://www.dailyadvocate.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/web1_IMG_0033-5.jpgGreenville Township trustee Justin Hines addresses the crowd at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Darke County Township Trustee Association. Tony Baker | The Daily Advocate

By Tony Baker

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