Violet Township officials are moving into 2014 with cautious trepidation, consistently wary of the overriding need to make do with less.

Violet Township officials are moving into 2014 with cautious trepidation, consistently wary of the overriding need to make do with less.

In the wake of drastic state cuts to local government funding, township officials say they have no choice, but to be on the lookout for ways to save money.

"Our biggest challenge is to offset budgetary cuts so we're considering a road levy," said Gary Weltlich, a Violet Township trustee.

"There might be some reduction in staff," he said.

"We're evaluating all departments, looking for reductions."

Director of Operations Bill Yaple said the township is on the path to simply "maintain existing services in 2014 as we know the General Fund has been hit hard by state funding cuts."

One capital project the township will undertake in 2014 will be for the upgrade of the Pickerington Senior Center.

"There will be a new roof on the Senior Center next year," Yaple said.

"That's already programmed in the budget.

"There will also be a new air-conditioning unit for the main cooling system because that one is over thirty years old," Yaple said, adding the roof is expected to cost the township about $45,000 and the air conditioner system's price tag hovers around $30,000.

Yaple said a 0.2-mill operating renewal levy passed in November 2012 for the Senior Center will provide funds for the improvements.

"Those are major expenditures that need to happen," Yaple said.

"If it wasn't for the levy, those folks could not afford to do those types of things."

The township is also committed to conduct standard asphalt paving in the Sturbridge Meadows and New England Acres subdivisions in 2014.

Last September the township's contractor paved the streets in those subdivisions using a cheaper "chip seal" method, much to the dismay of residents there.

In October, the trustees passed a resolution to expend at least $200,000 to repave the affected areas using the traditional "hot asphalt" method.

Yaple said the work will be done in 2014.

"They've been promised that (repaving)," he said.

"With the cold and wet weather, everybody got behind," he said.

The township's Busey Road Park will undergo additional work in 2014 in an effort to make it a viable recreational outlet for area residents.

"A forester identified 20 to 25 trees that need to come down to help the long-term life of the woods," Yaple said.

Violet Township will continue pursuing litigation against Fairfield County in 2014 for the capture of 3-percent bed tax monies.

The township has argued that the county has illegally collected the bed tax from three township hotels since 1981.

Violet Township will also determine in the coming year how it wants to fight the proposed annexation of two township properties into the city of Pickerington.

The trustees voted 3-0 to formally oppose the annexation Nov. 20.

If successful, Pickerington High School North, Lakeview Junior High School, the Kroger shopping center and American Legion Post 283 would be annexed into the city of Pickerington.

In 2014, Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher will oversee the installation of about 700 high intensity road signs as part of the Ohio Department of Transportation's Township Upgrade Grant.

"We'll be installing new signs over the next few months," Butcher said.

"Those will be compliant with the new federal reflectivity rules," he said.

"Our biggest challenge is to offset budgetary cuts so we're considering a road levy. There might be some reduction in staff. We're evaluating all departments, looking for reductions."

--GARY WELTLICH

Violet Township trustee