Muskingum Township
Muskingum County, Ohio

Oct. 2011 minutes





DATE: October 6, 2011


PURPOSE OF MEETING: Regular Meeting.


OPENING: The Muskingum Township Trustees met in regular session on October 6, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fire Building.  All trustees and fiscal officer were present.


The minutes were read and corrected to state Brian Williams’s discussion concerning the fire truck. (See Sept. 1, 2011 minutes)

Checks were approved and signed for payment.


Thelma Cohagen asked about the car counter that was supposed to be put on Jones Road.  Maniaci said he spoke with Doug Davis and he thought it had been done, but he didn’t know the results.  Jerri Newell and Mrs. Cohagen both stated they do not believe it has been done yet.  Thelma further stated there are semis back on the road along with tour buses.


Gordon Brown asked about the 1988 pumper being sold.  Miller said that it has never been sold or been put out for bid.  Miller said it is in disrepair and not worth the cost of fixing it. 


Maniaci asked about Welsh Road.  Miller said it has been completed and Dresden Landscaping is waiting for it to dry up so they can sow the seed.


Lynn Sellars asked for the public records retention schedule and policy.  She will put it in writing and give to the fiscal officer.


Steve Fusner brought up the issue of the retro-reflective requirements for stop signs.  There must be a plan in place before January 2012.  Maniaci said he actually has a plan, but didn’t bring it with him tonight.  Maniaci said he had an estimate of $26.00 per sign from the County Engineer.  We would need approximately 52 signs.  He proposed that we purchase 20 in 2012, 20 in 2013 and the balance in 2014.  We have until 2015 to replace all of them.  Our road crew would install them, during their regular work hours.  The proposal Maniaci has, he doesn’t wish to bring to a vote at this time, until December when we see if the fire levy passes.  As it will change how we use our funds if it doesn’t pass.


Lynn Sellars asked what is the money source that comes into the fund ledger?  Is it land tax?  Newell advised there is property tax, motor vehicle license tax, gas tax, estate tax. 

Forest Mendenhall asked if the township ever receives money back for liquor permits.  Newell advised yes and it goes into the general fund.


Gordon Brown asked if there is any distinction from the regular property real estate tax that should be going to fire protection?  Or is it solely 100% based on a fire tax levy?  Miller stated it is based on the levy.  Thelma Cohagen advised that the current fire levy is 1.25 mill and it is on your land tax when you get that bill.  But that is separate and apart from the general tax that comes in.  Mr. Brown asked if that was the only source that the township trustees receive that goes into the designated fire fund.  Miller and Fusner both advised yes.  Lynn Sellars asked if the land tax was divided into the fire fund along with the levy?  Maniaci stated that nothing else goes into the fire fund except for the fire levy money. 


Gordon Brown wanted to know what cemeteries is the townships responsibility.  Miller advised there are five.  One on Powellson Road which is Sherrod’s Chapel, Campbell’s Cemetery on North Pointe, the cemetery on Dutch School Road, Granger Cemetery in the middle of Buntings property and one on Carnation Road.  Mr. Brown wanted to know if these are recognized cemeteries and no churches there.  Miller stated they are all recognized cemeteries, no churches and the last time someone was buried at Sherrod’s Chapel was in 1902.

Mr. Brown said he has also seen payouts on our ledgers for men doing ditch work.  But they are not payroll?  He asked if a set amount is just paid for his work.  Is he working with our crew?  The man that was selected to mow cemeteries is a good example of independent contract labor.  Where we do not control his hours and he supplies his own equipment.  Fusner said yes they are working with our crew.  Mr. Brown wanted to know why is that not included as payroll, treated as employees.  Maniaci said as far as the snow removal goes; they are not under our direction, no supervisor with them.  We don’t determine whether they work or not.  They are not bound to us by our hours and our time frame.  Mr. Brown asked about where we bring in an extra man to get the job done.  Mr. Maniaci said he would have to check further into that.  Mr. Brown advised we could be in jeopardy of violating the law if we have another man being brought in and we control his hours, what he does and when he does it.   The IRS has a test called Independent Sub-Contract labor and if they’re under our control/supervision you should be including them in payroll.  Maniaci said we will take his comment under advisement and will look into the matter and do what we need to do to fix the problem. 


Mr. Brown asked what the amount of pay is to the two current employees.  Miller said it was $15.25 and $13.25.  Salmons being the lead employee and Mattingly as secondary.  He asked what trustees and fiscal officer’s salary was.  Trustees gross is $750.33 per month, per trustees and fiscal officer is $1178.92 per month.  Which is down from last year.  Elected officials are paid according to the townships budget.  That is determined through the state what their salaries will be.


Mr. Brown said on January 1, 2011 the minutes read trustees must submit monthly documentation at each meeting as to what type of work was done in order for partial salary and health insurance payments to be made from the road and bridge fund and also the general fund.  This does not necessarily mean they must do physical labor on the roads, Maniaci stated this could be road inspections, decisions on roads.  Anything pertaining to road issues. 


Gordon Brown asked about transferring funds from one account to another.  It is from the Road and Bridge Fund and the General Fund.  Is that all correctly handled as long as money is paid back?  Trustees agreed yes.  There is signed paperwork from the trustees agreeing with this transaction. October 31, 2010 one for $30,000 and January 2011 which totals $40,000.00 that hasn’t been repaid.  Newell advised Mr. Brown that we just received our second half of the property taxes which allowed us to pay back the advance of $40,000.00 from the general fund back into the road and bridge fund this month.  These advances were due to health insurance premiums being paid for trustees out of the Road and Bridge Fund when there wasn’t a policy in place for the trustees to submit their monthly logs.  Therefore, these monies were to be paid back into the road and bridge, leaving the general fund low. That is why in the 2011 re-organization meeting the trustees made the motion to start documenting all work done, so not to deplete the general fund.  Mr. Brown asked about the fund balance adjustment, per auditor of $15,469.  Newell informed him it was due to health insurance premium repayments and money being receipted into incorrect funds.  Newell further advised we are audited bi-annual and it is done by the state.

Maniaci advised Mr. Brown that the auditor did tell Ms. Newell that she was doing a very good job and our books are in very good order.  He felt he needed to make that statement.


Mr. Brown said that in July 31, 2011 $42,722.00 was paid out to Oshkosh Capital.  He wanted to know if that was the first payment.  Miller advised him that is the annual payment for the fire truck.  Other entries in the fire fund appear to be related to fire protection was $200 and $344 for Oxford Oil Company for gas consumed.  He wanted to know if we are paying this for the building or the trucks?  Trustees stated it is for the building not for the trucks.  Mr. Brown wanted to know that all the expenses relating to the operation for fire protection is now the responsibility for Falls Fire Department.  Maniaci said other than the buildings.  He understands we are keeping money to make the fire truck payment and the building utilities.  Maniaci said that is correct.  But any and all expenses related to fire protection comes under the umbrella contract with Falls Fire Department.  Trustees stated that is correct.  He then asked about the $1709.00 to the Bureau of Workers Compensation on March 2011.  Why would we be paying that?  Newell informed him that premiums are paid to BWC for the previous year.  It is a year in arrears. 


Jerry Miller said the Eagle Scout did get his project done at Sherrods Chapel Cemetery and Miller signed off on it.  He replaced 3 fence posts, put up all new wire and added 4 new posts around the corner.  There were two stones that fell over and they set them up.  Mr. Brown asked about the Scout that was supposed to do the genealogy paper.  Miller said that scout didn’t show up.


Gordon Brown said that Falls Township is providing protection and utilizing the truck and this facility and there are now men and women who are residents of Muskingum Township on their department.  How many are there?  Miller advised him 12.  Brown asked are all of them now being utilized by Falls?  Trustees advised yes. Mr. Brown said he seen in previous minutes where trustees paid for training for fire members.  So now Falls pays for that?  Miller said yes, that is Falls expense.  Gordon Brown asked about the check that was written to Falls Fire Department and was voided.  How does that stand with their contract?  Miller said there has been no money paid to Falls Fire Dept.  Maniaci said we will have to pay them before the end of the year.  We will have to budget numbers to see how much we need to keep to get us through until April and then pay the balance to Falls. Mr. Brown stated that $48,000 was paid to Falls Fire Dept in 2010; nothing paid yet but will be determined.  Trustees agreed.


Gordon Brown asked about the payments made to the law firm used to develop an employee manual was continued to be paid in 2010 through January 2011.  He made a request to see the invoices of what the purpose of these payments were for.  He wanted to know if anyone was going to be able to see on the invoice what the purpose was.  Maniaci said he will see the amount.  What you won’t see is the verbiage of the conversation.  Mr. Brown asked why wouldn’t a citizen see what the money was being used for.  Maniaci said the money was being used for the contract with Falls Fire Department and the employee manual.  The employee manual was accepted in December 2009.  Mr. Brown wanted to know if there was a dollar amount that the manual cost the township.  Maniaci stated approximately $25,000.00.  There were amendments to the handbook and lists that had to be added to it.  Mr. Brown wanted to know if that law firm was being paid for any other reason?  Miller advised other than the contract and the employee handbook, no.  That is what they were being paid to do.


Brian Williams asked about the trustees being involved with a lawsuit with the ex-fire chief.  Who is paying for their defense attorney and what fund is it coming out of.  Fusner stated that right now it is covered under their bond.  Maniaci said it will be paid by the township.  Miller stated a percentage of the bill will be paid by the township.  Williams asked for a total amount and trustees said they do not have a total at this time for their attorney fees.  Once the case is over, the township must pay 15% of the total bill out of the general fund.  Miller said 424 people signed a petition to authorize that expenditure.  Fusner said they were all named in the lawsuit.  Mr. Brown said the full list of people that signed the petition, are identified in the lawsuit as part of the legal documents. An effort had to be made by the clerk of courts to certify the validity of these signatures. Out of the 424 signatures, 314 were validated and 110 were invalidated.  The first lawsuit, plaintiffs were the Chief and Assistant Chief.  The second lawsuit is the petitioners of Muskingum Township. So the whole body of people who signed that petition is now the plaintiffs according to my copy of the lawsuit. Mr. Brown said quite a few points were dropped from the lawsuit, after combining the two.  Originally there were 21 violations.  They dismissed 9 and withdrew 6.  The remainder then went to trial. 


Gordon Brown asked about the employee handbook that there was information stated that once completed, the fire chief and others  would have to sign it?  To accept and abide by it?  Trustees stated yes.  Fusner said the two township workers had to have the handbook also.  Mr. Brown said the trustees had every right to present it to them for their signature.  They stated yes.  Maniaci said we have no signatures to date.  The only signature we got was from the Chief indicating that he received the book, not that he accepted the terms. 


Mr. Brown had a request for copies of minutes and public documentation that the contract with Falls Twp Fire Dept was openly presented to the public or made known to trustees for the meeting in which it was voted.  Maniaci said yes there is.  We may have to listen to the tapes from the meeting that indicate Mike Maniaci saying he asked Miller in a meeting previous, is that one of the things he is considering, is a takeover.  And he said Miller said yes, and that was in a meeting.   Mr. Brown said he feels it is a statement to the trust that is placed upon our trustees for their actions that procedures that were used to handle those matters in the past should be known to the citizens of this township so that their vote in November can either confirm their trust in trustees and give them a second chance or if there is a voice that change is needed.  Maniaci said he will listen to the tape to make sure.   Miller said it was discussed for two or three meetings, and Maniaci said he feels very strong that it was brought up in at least one meeting, maybe two. 


Gordon Brown asked Jerry Miller why he would take on this and not inform fellow trustees.  Miller advised that it was because of open meeting laws.  He wasn’t going to talk with fellow trustees about negotiations without being in a meeting.  Brown asked if he came to a meeting with a contract in place?  Maniaci stated no, before that happened, trustees came to a meeting they discussed what he was discussing with Falls Township. Fusner then read a resolution dated April 1, 2010 where he made a motion to authorize and empower Jerry Miller to speak with Dresden, Falls, Licking and Frazeysburg and see about a dual response or fire district.  Miller could negotiation any proposals with any of these departments.  Maniaci said that would’ve told the public that we were going into discussions with other fire departments.  Mr. Brown asked what May minutes stated.  Fusner read that Miller spoke with Frazeysburg and they are not interested in fire district.  Miller spoke with Mick Archer from Dresden Fire Department and they are not interested at this time. Miller did speak with Fall Twp and they are interested but they need to talk to their body of officers before a decision can be made.  Miller had not heard back from them at this time. Mr. Brown asked if there was a written contract at the June meeting with Falls Township.  Maniaci said yes.  By June it had been okay’d by the body and rushed into place to have a document in place by the June meeting.


Mr. Brown asked trustees if they think it would be good to document in the written minutes how many attendees are at the meetings.  Fusner said it would be a great idea.  All trustees agreed it should be a count of attendants.


Miller received a permit from Energy Cooperative for a 2” pipeline on Frame Road which would allow them to boar across the road 3 feet down. It would be 200 feet east from the intersection of Frame Rd and Dresden Rd.  The main extension is approximately 1000 ft east of intersection of Frame & Dresden.  Maniaci made the motion to allow them to run the pipe.  Fusner seconded.  Roll call:  Maniaci ayed, Fusner ayed and Miller ayed.


Thelma asked about the progress of dry hydrants?  Miller said the first one will be put in approximately next week.  The Chief of Falls Township is sending a letter to Guernsey Muskingum Electric.  He found out they will give $600.00 that they will write us a check for materials for each dry hydrant per township.  So Falls will be installing one at Twin Hills Drive in Falls Township and one at Slate Ridge Road and one on Friendly Hills Road.  Unsure which one they will get the $600.00 for.  Zemba Brothers will supply a man and a hoe to do the digging at no cost to the township to put the dry hydrant in.  Our road crew will assist.  They want to get this done before cold weather, so Falls Township drivers can go in and they won’t have to drain the ponds.  There is already a dry hydrant on Conn Road.


Forest Mendenhall said Muskingum Township received recognition from the Soil and Water monthly Agg. breakfast the first Tuesday of each month at 8:00 a.m. at Friendly Hills Grange Camp.  It would be nice to see some of the township residents present there.  He said there is a lot of great information given.  He said the trustees received a lot of kudos there.


Mike Maniaci said he spoke with Doug Davis and it was brought up the problems with North Pointe in regards to the drainage issue.  Davis said they are in jeopardy of not getting the funds to do road repair.


Thelma Cohagen brought up the “Meet the Candidates Night” to be held October 20th, 2011 at 7:00 p.m.


Maniaci moved to adjourn.  Seconded by Fusner.  All ayed.






                          JERRI A NEWELL, FISCAL OFFICER