By Portia Williams
JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP — Many townships have not been blessed to see the many improvements as Jefferson Township, in Scioto County has seen over the past 30 years. With the reduced revenue within the townships it is a difficult decision to determine paving requirements, recreation improvements and emergency response needs. With strategic planning and difficult budget decisions Jefferson Township has done just that.
Lisa Buckle, Fiscal Officer for Jefferson Township, said the Senior Center, which houses many community organization meetings, has seen improvements of a new playground, picnic shelter house and walking track.The Senior Center is not the only facility that has seen improvement. Jefferson Township’s volunteer fire department has been equipped with some of the most up to date equipment for the fire service.
According to Buckle, through budgeting and proper planning over an approximate five year period the township has purchased a new fire station, three new fire trucks, a rescue tank and a tanker pumper and a new brush truck. The Jefferson Township Volunteer Fire Dept. responds to approximately 120 emergency response calls each year.
Additionally, as a result of the Community Development Block Grant from the Scioto County Commissioners the department was able to acquire 11 new sets of turn out gear in 2014.
“The tanker pumper, the big trick is a 2015 freight liner pumper, and the cost of it was $257,000,” she said. “It is used to go on fire runs for structure fires, rescue runs, and things like that,” Buckle said. “The other truck is a brush truck, a little pickup truck that has the hose reel on the back of it, it was $24,000. It is used a lot for traffic-control for the fire department, and it’s called the brush truck, because it goes on a lot of brush fires.”
Necessary purchases of turn out gear also came through the Block Grant funds.
“Now the turn out gear was made possible through a Scioto County Commissioners’ Community Block Grant for $33,000 grant that they give out every year, and that bought us 15 sets of turn out gear,” she said. “It is grant in which we, as a township have to fill out paperwork to receive, and we did and the Commissioners awarded us the grant. Also, the playground equipment that we got for the community building was also a Community Block Grant from the Commissioners, and it was for $36,000.”
In the case of power outages, Jefferson Township also purchased a back-up generator in the event that a crisis arise and the need presents itself.
“With that Community Development Block Grant we also bought a back-up generator in case we ever have to use the community building as a shelter,” she said. “For instance, back when we had the ice storm, and so many people were without electricity for a long period of time, that building could have been used as a shelter for those people. If we would have had the generator at that time, we could have housed them in there. Now we have the generator, and if it happens again we will be able to use the building as an emergency shelter.”
Another source of grant funds was allocated to Jefferson Township came through the Ohio Township Association Risk Management Authority.
“They give out a $500 grant each year, which allowed us to buy emergency response equipment for the fire department, we bought emergency lights for our township vehicles,” she said.
In 1984 a plan was set up to pave every road in the township on a 7 to 10 year rotation. So far all of the roads have been paved at least twice on the schedule. Maintenance is also required on each of the roads in the township. In order to provide the maintenance a new tractor and side mower was purchased in 2013 and in 2015 a new dump truck for snow removal.
“We spend about $140,00 a year on paving. Sometimes, like this past year, we had a lot of logging going on in the township, we had the sewer project that was going on, and we had Rt. 139 being repaired and they use that for a lot of heavy truck traffic,” she said. “So, sometimes we don’t get to repair our roads within that seven to 10 year rotation, they might have to be repaired sooner, and some might get repaired later.”
Buckle said it is with great pride that the township officials have striven to improve the township and make it a better, enjoyable, and safer place for the residence of Jefferson Township to raise their families.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter@PortiaWillPDT.