By addressing a large portion of one of the significant issues facing the township in 2020 at its Jan. 2 meeting, Liberty Township trustees say they hope to be able to focus more intentionally on other matters throughout the coming year.

Having taken steps to lay to rest issues regarding the future of health and safety services in the township and the future of local fire and EMS, the board will turn to other business -- and rebuilding a relationship with Powell City Council is a top priority, trustees said.

"A major focus will be working with the city of Powell for the good of the whole community, from a zoning and economic development perspective," trustee Shyra Eichhorn said. "We need to rebuild relationships with all of the surrounding communities and with (Delaware County)."

"Residents of Powell are residents of Liberty Township. We need to look at things we can do together and how we can be better for it," rookie trustee Bryan Newell said. "Growth, development, density, diversity -- all of these are issues on the table."

Diversifying the tax base, Eichhorn said, is a prime concern for the township moving forward.

"It's important to find our residents some tax relief," she said.

Newell said he spoke with members of Powell City Council, as well as newly elected council member Heather Karr, during his campaign in 2019. He said the general consensus is that the time has come to bring the two governing bodies back to the same table.

Working collaboratively on a comprehensive land-use plan would benefit the township in other ways, Eichhorn said.

"There's a branding or identity gap that I think would be addressed with an overall vision for the area," she said.

"It's the kind of thing that can help us make better decisions so that people who are coming to us who want to do business have an understanding of what we're about," Newell said.

Eichhorn credited township residents for activating on issues they believed were of concern, and she hopes to continue to tap that input in 2020.

"We have committees established," she said. "Let's get more community involvement."

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