Capital budgets for Orange Township's departments, along with one big roadway project, make up about half of the township's projected $21.7-million budget for 2010.

Capital budgets for Orange Township's departments, along with one big roadway project, make up about half of the township's projected $21.7-million budget for 2010.

The biggest chunk of the $10.5-million in estimated capital expenses is $5-million set aside to pay for the East Orange Road widening project, township trustees were told during a special board meeting Dec. 17 to review the township's 2010 budget.

Bids for that project are expected to go out early next year, township administrator Gail Messmer said. After the meeting, she said township officials hope work on the project will begin by April 1 and be completed before the start of school in late August.

The widening project, between Bale Kenyon Road and S. Old State Road, also will include the construction of three roundabouts to help control traffic flow. Three schools are located on that stretch of road.

The maintenance department set aside $500,000 for road maintenance and resurfacing projects in 2010. The overall capital budget for the maintenance department next year is $953,000.

The capital budget for the fire department is $1.1-million, including $830,000 set aside for vehicle purchase.

Fire officials plan to buy a new medic squad at a cost of about $200,000, chief Tom Stewart said. A new engine truck might also be bought by 2011 at a cost of about $450,000.

"We try to be fiscally conservative," Stewart said in noting that some of the $830,000 would be carried over to 2011 depending on what purchases are made.

The fire department, with 47 full-time firefighters including the chief and assistant chief, has the largest overall budget with a projected $7.1-million expected to be spent on operating costs next year. That includes $3.6-million for salaries and $1.275-million for pension payments.

Stewart would like to add additional personnel next year, as he has tried to do for several years. He wants to add three full-time battalion chiefs, at a base salary cost of $233,000 a year, three full-time firefighters at $139,000 and a training officer at $60,000.

"We anticipate hiring some people but need a better handle on the economy" early next year before doing anything, he said after the meeting.

Trustee John Cassady said during the meeting that he is not optimistic about adding additional supervisory positions in the department.

"It's probably not likely we'll be in a position to move forward with hiring of battalion chiefs," Cassady said.

The fire department brings in about $4.8-million a year from a township fire levy that will expire in 2012. Stewart anticipates a carryover of about $2-million into 2011.

Out-going trustee James Agan warned officials to be careful of what money levels they anticipate for the future.

"Anticipating carryovers in this (economic) environment might be a little dangerous," Agan said.

Stewart agreed and said that fire officials always are conservative in their estimates.

The parks department will have several big projects in 2010, including continuing work on Glen Oak Park and constructing several more leisure trails. The capital budget for parks next year is nearly $2.9-million.

Trustee Nelson Katz said officials hope to offset some costs by getting state grants through such things as the Clean Ohio Trail Fund.

"Going after grant money helps reduce the burden on the taxpayer," Katz said.

The township has applied for four grants totalling $840,000.

The township's 2009 expenditures should be about $15.7-million, Messmer said after the meeting. However, those expenses don't include a big, one-time expense such as the Orange Road widening.