Township leaders must be mindful of local taxpayers' needs
To the Editor:
The article in the March 14 edition of the ThisWeek New Albany News about Plain Township trustees considering increasing payments for firefighter pensions at taxpayer expense is troubling.
Plain Township employees, while being generously and competitively compensated, since 1998 have paid nothing for health insurance or pension.
Typically, government employees pay 14 percent of health insurance and 10 percent of pension while taxpayers pay the rest -- a very good deal since private citizens pay substantially more.
In Plain Township taxpayers pay 100 percent.
The Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund has raised the employee contribution requirement from 10 percent to 12.25 percent. Our trustees are considering passing that on to township taxpayers, too.
It's time to stop these practices that are not at all fair to taxpayers and continue to raise the cost of local government and our taxes unnecessarily. I appreciate very much the services provided to our community by our firemen and I believe our community more than fairly compensates them for it.
When I met with Trustee Dave Olmstead, Township Administrator Ben Collins and Fire Chief John Hoovler last summer about the plan to hire battalion chiefs, they assured me that adding those positions would enhance fire protection in our community, was part of a "master plan" to support our community growth and would not raise taxes.
I have been greatly disappointed that the battalion chiefs issue has turned out to be an expansion of overhead costs that rewards current employees with three levels of promotions that does little to enhance fire protection while greatly increasing costs.
It only means to me that the community will be asked for a tax increase sooner rather than later.
Taxpayers continue to experience the effects of the recession. No one picks up our health insurance and pension costs regardless of how much they increase.
The cost of government has to be reasonable, controllable and sustainable.