Saturday, September 23, 2017

Russell Trustees OK Township Debt Policy Plan
August 23, 2017 by Ann Wishart | No Comments

Russell Township Fiscal Officer Chuck Walder reported at the Aug. 2 meeting the township’s financials were improving thanks to cooperation from department heads.

Working with fire, police and road supervisors, Walder has been reorganizing the township’s fiscal streams, so each department is responsible for its own budget with more funds coming through specific levies rather than from the general fund.

Taking a proactive stance, on Aug. 16, he recommended to trustees the installation of another policy to maintain the township’s fiscal integrity.

Walder said he talked to Sudsina and Associates of Columbus on setting up a “skeleton debt policy” for the township.

It would provide standard operating procedures on obtaining debt such as bonds, setting debt limits, making sure the debt is secure, etc., he said.

“I approached them and asked them to do some preliminary work, give me a quote to develop a debt policy, which we need because of our fire bond,” Walder said, adding having such a policy should help the township maintain its high rating and credit sources.

Most townships don’t have long-term debt, so don’t need a policy, he said.

Sudsina will prepare and present the initial draft of the policy and, if the trustees aren’t happy with it, there will be no charge, Walder said.

If they decide to use the draft, the cost will be $2,500 and Walder will complete details of the policy, he said.

“It will establish the criteria for how we go out for debt,” Walder said, adding it would be a good document to take to the annual budget commission hearing.

In other business, he said the north wall on a house on Caves Road collapsed and the new owner will be demolishing the structure soon, Walder said.

Trustee Justin Madden said the board has encouraged the new owner to take action and he’s glad there are plans to take the house down as soon as possible.

“We acted on a safety concern. It was a danger to the owner, the community and first responders,” he said, adding the previous owner was already out of the building when the wall came down.

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