As usual, the Jackson Township Fire Department will receive the lion's share of revenue and do the lion's share of spending next year in Jackson Township.

As usual, the Jackson Township Fire Department will receive the lion's share of revenue and do the lion's share of spending next year in Jackson Township.

On Tuesday, Dec. 3, the Jackson Township Board of Trustees voted 2-0 to accept the 2014 appropriations budget. Trustees Chairman David Burris and trustee Jim Rauck voted in favor of the budget. Trustee Stephen Bowshier was absent.

In 2014, Jackson Township anticipates revenues of $12.6 million and operating expenditures of $14.1 million. An additional $945,000 is proposed for capital spending while setting aside $1.7 million in reserves.

"From an overview, things look pretty good," said Township Administrator Mike Lilly.

The fire department's operating budget is estimated to be $11.8 million, an increase of $347,035. A projected $9.9 million will go toward personnel with $6.8 million for wages and $3.1 million for benefits, including contributions to the Police and Fire Pension Fund, which will cost $2.03 million.

Another $140,000 is put aside for new fire department hires.

"We know we're going to have retirements in 2014," Lilly said. "We have room to bring new firefighters on board."

The general fund will see a decline of $630,458, or 15.07 percent, from $4.1 million in 2013 to $3.47 million in 2014. The largest expense is $800,000 for medical insurance, up by $50,000. Workers Compensation insurance and group fees will cost $225,000.

The general fund also includes increases in salary costs for support staff, from $117,000 to $165,000, and other staff, from $137,000 to $155,000.

There also will be $20,000 set aside for employee physicals and drug testing and another $20,000 for employee training services.

Non-fire department capital improvements projects in the township next year will include $100,000 for a leisure path project on Orders Road, $75,000 for pedestrian safety and sidewalk projects, $15,000 for phase three of the White Road reconstruction and $10,000 in energy efficiency upgrades.

Commercial OK'd at Holt-Big Run

The trustees Dec. 3 also approved the rezoning of 4.1 acres at 4745 Big Run South Road, at the southeast corner of the intersection of Big Run and Holt Road. The site, previously zoned in the Semi-Rural Residential District, will now designated to the Neighborhood Cluster Commercial District.

Permitted uses under the new zoning include beauty/barber shops, laundry/dry cleaners, food/drug/hardware stores, florists, paint/glass/wallpaper, real estate agents and photography studios.

But property owner Allen Schoch said there are no immediate plans for any development at this time.

Currently, the site includes farm land, a farmhouse and barn that will be demolished, Lilly said.

"We used the property for a training fire several years ago," he said.

The site also has issues with water and wastewater systems designed for a single-family residential that were not properly abandoned. One of the conditions of approval was that those systems be formally abandoned in coordination with Franklin County Board of Health.

Steve Edwards, an attorney representing Schoch, said those issue were being taken care of.

The other condition is that any future development use Holt Road for primary traffic access and that only a right-in/right-out access be used for Big Run South Road.