Olentangy Valley News

Orange Township

Trustees ready for changes in investment policies

More interest on township funds sought

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After a delay of more than a year, Orange Township officials are hoping to move forward with adjusting investments to earn more interest for the township.

Trustees Rob Quigley, Lisa Knapp and Debbie Taranto discussed the investment strategy with Fiscal Officer Joel Spitzer at their Sept. 3 meeting.

They decided to have Brian Carter, a representative of Fifth-Third Bank's securities department, meet with them to discuss investment options. He made presentations last year at a couple of meetings.

Spitzer said after the meeting that he plans to have Carter come to the trustees' meeting Monday, Sept. 16 and to have a resolution regarding investments ready for trustees to vote on at that meeting.

Orange currently has about $15 million in the state of Ohio's Star Ohio Plus program. In the first quarter of this year, the township earned about $9,000 in interest.

Spitzer told the trustees that higher rates could be earned through other investments, including government agency bonds or government-brokered Certificates of Deposit with staggered maturation dates.

There have been some legal issues involved with investing in CDs, so Spitzer said his recommendation would be to go with government agency bonds, which currently have a higher interest rate then the Star Plus Ohio program.

The Ohio General Assembly likely needs to act on the legal issues involving the CDs and Spitzer said it's best to stay away from that type of investment.

That's one reason for the delay since last year in changing investments: Officials have been waiting for the state to act on CDs.

Last year, trustees changed what Spitzer had characterized as a restrictive investment policy approved by previous trust-ees. That change allows for more flexibility in making investments.

Part-time firefighters hired

Trustees on Sept. 3 also approved the hiring of two part-time firefighters. The cash-strapped fire department has been making cuts and taking other measures to stay afloat this year following the passage of an emergency operating levy in a special election in February. No taxes from that 7.5-mill levy can be collected until 2014.

Because of cuts, the department is not increasing its full-time firefighter force, but is using part-timers to fill the gaps and help keep overtime costs down.

Chief Tom Stewart said after the meeting that three full-time firefighters have left this year leaving the department with 42. There are only eight part-time firefighters and the department is authorized to have up to 17.

Stewart told trustees during the meeting that hiring Adam Ison and Adam Goudy is the first step toward adding more part-timers. Other hires could be made later this fall.

Ison and Goudy will start at $10.03 per hour.

In another fire department-related matter, Nancy Enciso of the Inn at Olentangy Trail presented a $600 check to the township to help with the department's community CPR initiative.

The Inn at Olentangy Trail raised the money through fund-raisers as a way of saying thanks to the department for the good job it does, Enciso said.

The money could go to help pay for CPR and first-aid programs, officials said.

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