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John McGraw: Are the Union Twp. trustees watching their spending?

Clermont Sun
Clermont Sun
 2022-04-20
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It is has been reported that Union Township may have a budget deficit this year. Are the Trustees watching spending and tightening their belts? To the contrary they are spending dollars at a high rate. This includes spending $9999.60 on Cincinnati Nature memberships for employees. That number is important because if the number was $10,000.01 it would have required the administrator to read the purchase order in a public meeting and the trustees would had to vote to approve the amount in a meeting. As it is, the Cincinnati Nature Center purchase order was approved as a simple vote on the addendum. The $9999.60 amount does not match up to the published cost of memberships to the amount of Union Township employees. Even using the best of simple math there is no way to account for the amount of $9999.60 amount unless you were trying to bury the purchase order so the public would not be aware. This has not been done in Union Township since the days of former Administrator Doug Walker.

I emailed each Trustee to see if they received a township purchased membership to the Nature Center. John Becker replied to me saying he did not because he already had a private membership. The other 2 Trustees Michael Logue and Joe Dills did not respond to my email. It is important to know if they did receive a membership because doing so could constitute a violation of ORC 505.24 regulating Trustee pay limits and ORC 2921.42 having an unlawful interest in a public contract. This could spell legal issues for the Trustees.

Why even purchase memberships to the Cincinnati Nature Center? The township has 3 parks already with walking trails, they have a gym and state of the art workout centers. Is this political payback for supporters who like the nature center? This is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. What is next? Will they get memberships to the Kenwood Country Club or the Cincinnati Zoo? The Cincinnati Nature Center is a great place to visit, but they should do like I do and pay for their own membership.

The Trustees have committed to other big purchases like a new service truck, $10,000 for a Safe Haven box, $4334 for trophy awards, expensive legal fees for 2 law directors, almost $1 million dollars for road paving and nearly $500,000 for new breathing apparatus for the firefighters. The trustees also verbally committed to new uniforms for the police without asking the cost and they hired numerous new employees. You can make an argument about the value of these purchases, but can you do them all at once with a large deficit looming at the end of the year? Where is their budget plan? The current Trustees inherited a township in a great financial position. Can they keep it that way? How can you run on being open and transparent and then try and hide a major purchase from the taxpayers?

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