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|12-12-02: Jefferson Township Trustees
prepare secret offer for Celina fire protection
|By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
Jefferson Township Trustees apparently are not pleased with the city of
Celina's announcement that the township's fire protection payment needs to increase by
nearly 100 percent.
The trustees have devised a sort of counteroffer to Celina in response
to the proposed increase.
But the details of that counterproposal are being kept secret by the
township, as well as the discussion that took place to devise the proposal.
Jefferson Township Trustees met Wednesday night to consider the city's
proposed increase. The trustees immediately moved to enter an executive session to discuss
the matter, stating that contract negotiations are allowed to be discussed in private.
This morning, trustee clerk Grant Cook said trustees decided on a
proposal for the city but refused to give further details of that counterproposal. He said
the trustees want to keep the issue between the trustees and the city, without outside
Ohio Sunshine Laws and results of state supreme court cases
specifically prohibit deliberations and decisions in closed sessions of public bodies.
Jefferson Township Trustees may be in violation of Ohio law by making Wednesday's
decision. The law says that decisions, if challenged, may be ruled invalid and must be
The slender list of reasons for excluding the public from a meeting
does not include discussing intergovernmental contracts.
Ohio Sunshine Laws, released by the Ohio Attorney General's office,
outlines the seven valid reason for executive sessions. Those include: specific personnel
issues (hiring, firing, compensation); possible property sale/purchase; pending or
imminent court actions; collective bargaining strategies; trade secrets; security
arrangements; and matters required to be kept confidential by federal or state laws (such
as medical information).
It has previously been mentioned in Celina utilities committee meetings
that the trustees are not pleased with the increase.
"They have their ideas and we have our ideas," Cook said of
the city's proposal.
This summer, Celina announced the payments for fire protection from
Center, Hopewell and Jefferson township were not recouping the city's costs. The city
increased Center and Hopewell townships' cost, and those townships subsequently passed
fire levies during the November election to handle the increase.
Jefferson Township's increase was the largest of the three, with city
officials saying the annual payment to the city needs to increase from $57,267 to
Of the fire department runs outside of the city limits, Jefferson
Township accounts for more than 60 percent, Celina Fire Department records show.
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