News from Genoa Twp.


Staff Report



From Former Trustee Carfagna

We can expect many new beginnings in 2017, including a new chapter for me as your newly elected State Representative. As I vacate the office of Genoa Township Trustee, I wanted to reflect on how far we’ve come over the past seven years and where we are headed as a community. I first wish to thank everyone who has entrusted me with these elected responsibilities. During my two terms as trustee, I served with four other trustees, Fiscal Officer Pat Myers, numerous staff members, chiefs, and department heads under our amazing Administrator Paul Wise, and countless resident volunteers to maintain and enhance the outstanding quality of life that our residents deserve and expect. This team effort has yielded the following partial list of achievements over the past seven years:

Infrastructure:

The addition of 4.5 miles of new pedestrian trails, linking our neighborhoods with schools, parks, and commercial areas.

Working with county, state, and federal officials to install sorely needed traffic signals along Route 3 at both the Freeman Road and Plumb Road intersections.

The widening of Maxtown Road between Tussic and Sunbury Roads to improve traffic flows.

Significant drainage improvements for those living along Ruckmoor Drive, Charles Road, and Paul Road.

Installation of an outdoor tornado siren to cover our schools and Township parks.

Parks:

Our 15-acre expansion of McNamara Park, totaling approximately $1 million and connecting our park to South Old 3C Highway, expanding open fields, and adding trails, parking, trees and other amenities.

The addition of permanent restroom facilities at Freeman Park, Center Green Park, and the eastern half of McNamara Park.

The creation of the Genoa Township Community Gardens along Worthington Road.

Multiple recognitions by the Ohio Department of Health as a “Healthy Community” award recipient, recognizing outstanding achievements in developing and implementing health-related policies and providing healthy community environments.

Utilization of our parks for new community events like our Township Movie Nights and Fishing Day.

Fiscal Management:

Our continued exceptional fiscal status, with no outstanding debt and continually solid state auditing results.

Enactment of the Township’s first ever Reserve Balance Account (or “Rainy Day” fund).

Our joining of OhioCheckbook.com, offering all Township spending information online and promoting government transparency.

Negotiation of a joint agreement with the City of Westerville and the Westerville City School District to preserve the Township’s tax increment financing (TIF) district, allowing for additional Township revenue of well over $1.4 million for development projects and infrastructure improvements in our southern end.

Collaboration with other local jurisdictions to secure the lowest rates for trash and recycling services in all of Central Ohio, an endeavor that won Genoa the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission’s Green Collaborative Achievement Award.

Creation of the Township’s electric and natural gas aggregation programs, providing utility bill savings to residents and small businesses.

Our successful effort to change state law to expand investment opportunities for all of Ohio’s Townships, allowing for greater investment returns and maximizing the value of taxpayer dollars.

Managing employee insurance costs to avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of increases.

Omitted above are the first-class services rendered by our Police and Fire/EMS Departments, which merit their own standalone articles. Despite these achievements, however, numerous challenges remain. For starters, many roads are fast approaching their replacement schedules, our Township website desperately needs a makeover, and our Zoning Resolution is due for several updates. Medic response times for residents living east of Hoover Reservoir can amount to ten minutes or more, with fi re response times even higher. Our Township facilities also require assorted long-term investments, including storage against the elements for maintenance equipment and vehicles, and addressing mold and inadequate resources at our police station.

Make no mistake, these challenges pale in comparison to the struggles faced by most local governments across the state. We are truly blessed to live where we do, and there isn’t a community in Ohio that wouldn’t trade its problems for ours. I am so proud to have worked with dedicated elected officials and professional staff members who are committed daily to excellence. I hope you will join me in commending our unsung employees who plow our roads, patrol our streets, respond to our emergencies, and keep our parks and trails in spectacular shape.

My challenge to all of you, my fellow neighbors, is to remain engaged in Township affairs. Whether by serving on one of our committees, volunteering at Township events, attending meetings, or simply engaging with your elected officials or Township staff, your continued input is vital towards steering the direction of Genoa Township. Please stay in contact with our Board of Trustees at trustees@genoatwp.com, and keep up with assorted happenings by following our Facebook page or checking our website, www.genoatwp.com.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for seven fantastic years. May God continue to bless all of you, your families, and Genoa Township.

With friendship and gratitude,

Rick Carfagna

Thank you and Farewell

The November election was bittersweet for staff and residents as our very own Trustee Rick Carfagna was selected by voters to serve the Ohio House of Representatives. Rick will begin his term in January, leaving his seat on the Genoa Township Board of Trustees open to be filled by appointment.

Rick has served as Trustee for the past seven years and during that time he has served the community well. Rick has been consistently supportive of initiatives that protect the safety and security of our families, an advocate for proper funding levels of levied departments and careful to never burden taxpayers by overfunding.

“Every decision and vote he made was thoughtful,” said Paul Wise, Township Administrator. “Half way through his first term I knew that someday we would lose Rick to a higher office.”

Congratulations to Rick on this significant accomplishment. While the Township has lost an important Trustee, it has gained a champion and resource at the State House.

After 25 years of service to the Township as a police officer, Lieutenant Ron Thompson has retired. His presence at a final Trustee meeting was met with a standing ovation. Ron was particularly well-known throughout the community, serving as an ambassador for the Police Department.

“It’s almost impossible to go anywhere without him seeing someone he knows,” said Stephen Gammill, Chief of Police. “I have heard many stories from residents who met Ron when they moved to the Township when he would pull up and greet them during their move-in and act as a welcome wagon.”

The Lieutenant’s smile and warm personality will be greatly missed. Fellow Officers, Township Trustees and coworkers wish the Lieutenant well in his retirement.

Behind the Scenes: Snow & Ice Removal

Salt and brine have been stockpiled to ensure the Maintenance Department is able to care for the Township’s 90 miles of roadways. In an average winter, 1,500 tons of salt and 25,000 gallons of brine are used to keep area roads safe.

Roads are pretreated with a brine solution up to 48 hours before a snow event followed by the application of salt. After a snow fall of two inches or more, drivers then begin to plow no matter what time of day they are notified.

Main streets or roadways with dangerous curves and hills are plowed and salted first. Secondary roads are then completed, followed by cul-de-sacs and finally, recreational trails.

Residents can help snowplowing efforts by keeping a few things in mind:

During snow emergencies, all vehicles must be removed from the streets.

When shoveling your driveway, pile the snow by the curb to the left side of your driveway (when viewing the home from the street). Doing so will keep the snow from being pushed back across your driveway as the plows pass.

Sump pump drain holes are cut into your curb. Drain pipes may freeze during long periods of harsh winter weather. Sprinkling rock salt at the curb gutter plate will help eliminate the possibility of water backing up and freezing within the drain pipe.

In the event your mailbox is damaged by a snow plow and is unable to be repaired by the Township, homeowners are eligible for reimbursement up to $75.00. Any mailbox replacements exceeding $75.00 may be reimbursed.

Winter Safety and Thin Ice

Within or nearby Genoa Township there are several large bodies of water, the Westerville Reservoir, Hoover Reservoir, Alum Creek Reservoir and over 250 ponds. Ice is never entirely safe to walk on and poses a danger. Keep a watchful eye over children and adolescents who may not fully understand the serious danger ice poses.

Ice seldom freezes evenly. Ice may be several inches thicker from one spot to another due to fl owing water, how old the ice is and recent temperature fluctuations. Ice covered by snow should always be presumed unsafe as the snow insulates the ice from freezing and refreezing.

Home Heating Equipment

Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, accounting for 16% of all reported home fi res in 2009-2013 (second behind cooking) and 19% of home fire deaths (second behind smoking materials).

Space heaters are responsible for two of every five home heating fires.

The leading factor contributing to ignition was heating equipment being placed too closely to upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.

Keep space heaters a minimum of 3 feet from any combustibles and do not leave unattended. Shut off when leaving the room.

When buying heaters, purchase those with automatic shut off and tip over shut off features.

Have a professional inspect the chimneys, chimney connectors, and related equipment annually, and have them cleaned as often as the inspector indicates.

When burning wood, it is important to use properly seasoned wood. The U.S. Department of Energy cautions that green wood has more moisture and is more likely to smolder, leading to more creosote build-up.

Allow ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container with a lid. (source: National Fire Protection Association)

Holiday Tree Disposal

Live holiday trees that have all decorations and lights removed may be taken to Price Farms Organics for composting at 4838 Warrensburg Road, Delaware, OH 43015. Trees are accepted at no charge.

Alternatively, Rumpke will dispose of trees placed at the curb along with trash. If you’re selecting this option please ensure trees have been cut into segments no longer than 5’ with limbs tied down.

Law Enforcement Re-accreditation

Genoa Township Police Department received re-accreditation through the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation (CALEA). This signifies that 200 rigorous standards based on best practices for law enforcement have been met. Accreditation was a three-year process led by Sergeant Rich Lyon, ensuring the best policies were in place with proof that those policies are followed.

Two assessors visited the Department for an on-site evaluation. The assessors met with the public and staff. They were impressed by the high level of community support for the police in the Township and remarked that they have not seen anything to match that in all the other agencies they have reviewed.

New Comprehensive Plan Adopted

The Genoa Township Board of Trustees officially adopted the 2016 Comprehensive Plan, marking the official end to a process that began over a year and half ago in the summer of 2015. The Plan establishes guidelines for planning and growth over the next five years and will be a vital tool in evaluating applications for rezoning and development. While the new plan does not recommend any increases in residential density or expand areas planned for commercial development within the Township, it does include updates to statistical data and maps of the Township, a new list of road improvements planned over the next several years, clarification of several key planning and zoning concepts, and numerous implementation objectives. The complete plan can be viewed on the Township’s website at www.genoatwp.com/zoning/comp.

Looking Forward: 2017 Projects

Township employees began planning for 2017 far before the ball dropped on the New Year.

One of the most noticeable projects planned for the year includes launching a new website. The new website will represent the character of our community and professionalism of our Township through imagery and language. Additionally, providing easier navigation for residents to fi nd the information they need is a top priority of the initiative. Staff have already issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), interviewed web developers and are eager to begin work on this impactful project.

A related, but much less visible project, will be the replacement of the Township’s aging computer servers. These servers are the foundation of the information technology system. Plans call for the replacement of three servers that support the Township’s network.

Physical improvements to the Township will continue to be made as well. The final phase of the sidewalk program will take place, reviewing and replacing the sidewalks north of Big Walnut Road. Additionally, the Maintenance Department will remain busy with a paving project and neighborhood drainage project.

Finally, the Fire Department has initiated steps to increase funding without increasing the cost to residents, through an EMS billing program. This program collects monies that are already set aside by insurance companies for emergency medical transports and accepts that payment as payment in full from those companies. Township residents will continue to receive EMS care without any out of pocket expense. Residents may contact Fire Chief Gary Honeycutt with comments and questions.

Get Involved!

CITIZENS FIRE ACADEMY

Sign up now for the Genoa Township Citizens Fire Academy. The Academy meets Monday evenings 7-9 p.m. for 12 weeks between March and June. Participants take part in multiple fire department disciplines such as pulling hoses, crawling in smoke, mitigating a Haz Mat incident, learning CPR, driving a fire truck, and much more. Beyond just having fun, participants will discover how the Fire Department prepares for and responds to emergencies as well as how to increase chances of survival in emergencies. The program won’t be enough to make participants firefighters, but it will be educational, fun, and at times challenging. Participants must be a minimum of 18 years of age and pass a background check. There is no charge for this course. Apply online.

CITIZENS POLICE ACADEMY

Genoa Township Police Department will host the 11th class of the Citizen Police Academy. The group will convene Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. beginning in March for 10 weeks. After graduating, participants will have received extensive insight into the profession of law enforcement and police operations. Officers and residents both enjoy the opportunity to get to know one another.

Topics covered during the Academy include: Use of force, use of less lethal weapons such as the Taser, traffic stops, SWAT operations, a jail tour, and a fi rearms live-shooting experience. Participants must be a minimum of 18 years of age and pass a background check. There is no charge for this course. Apply online.

Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Genoa Twp.

Information for this story was provided by Genoa Twp.