Clinton Twp. hears about electric plan, trustees

Clinton Township residents heard from trustee candidates and received an explanation of an electric aggregation issue on the Nov. 5 ballot during Candidates Night Wednesday

As a neutral person, Tyler Todd, a senior at Tiffin University, gave an overview of the aggregation issue.

“It talks about how the township itself would come together as a collective unit to buy electricity,” Todd said. “If you vote yes and it does pass, you’ll all come together to get a better rate.”

Electricity would be purchased in bulk by the township at a lower rate than individuals can buy it. The township then would sell the electricity to residents.

If the issue is approved by voters, each resident would be automatically enrolled in the group-buying program. He said it would take six months to a year to begin noticing savings, and it would be the choice of each household to remain as a participant or to opt out.

Residents could opt out toward the beginning of the program, and would get another chance to opt out every few years.

During the Clinton Township trustee candidates portion of the evening, questions centered on sharing resources with other townships and operating the township efficiently.

The candidates agreed cooperation among townships is necessary.

“It’s important to work with other townships to share equipment to save money and do projects together, which we’ve already done,” said incumbent Dennis Moyer.

“When townships work together, everybody benefits from it,” said Brandon Steinmetz. “Pulling resources together, everybody benefits.”

Incumbent James Distel said some examples of sharing equipment include a crack-filling machine, wood chipper and similar services.

“It’s kind of common sense,” said James Warnement. “If I have something and you have the need for it, it just makes sense to pool resources and work together.”

Distel said he has discovered opportunities for the township by representing the trustees on other boards, such as the North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments.

On the same note, candidates were asked how they would stretch local dollars.

In addition to sharing equipment, Moyer said trustees can do much of the work themselves and seek grants to help fund projects.

“We keep everything maintained so you don’t have everything go bad at once,” he said.

“The trustees doing more of the physical work and saving money that way,” Warnement said.

Distel said Clinton Township has lost $610,000 out of its budget during the past five years due to changes in funding from the state.

“That’s $122,000 every year we have to find a way to make up for,” he said. Some ways the trustees have accomplished the cuts are taking good care of roads, negotiating contracts and “shopping when we spend money to make sure we’re spending the money wisely.”

When asked if they think township government should be eliminated, they all said no.

“I think township government is important,” Steinmetz said.

“I think that would be a big thing for safety,” Warnement said. “If you get rid of the government, who would take over? Who would clean the ditches and roadways?”

Distel said township government is the personal form of government.

“Township government is the simplest and oldest form of government, and I think it’s the best form of government,” Distel said. “Our neighbors can call us. We know them personally. A trustee can get issues taken care of quickly.”

Moyer said township government also is the most efficient form of government.

“We’re the closest to the people,” he said. “We don’t have all the overhead.”

The candidates were asked how they would maintain a tax base while losing land to annexation.

“We do have the annexation agreement that was put on before I became a trustee,” Distel said. “If we do have a property that is annexed, we have 15 years that we still collect taxes, so that helps.”

Distel said the township also enacted a lodging tax.

“We are not for implementing taxes on our residents,” he said.