Madison Township trustees are inviting township residents, including those in the unincorporated areas of Canal Winchester and Groveport, to serve on a new citizen advisory committee.
Newly elected trustee Michele Reynolds floated the idea, which received the support of trustees chairman John Pritchard and Ed Dildine Sr.
"It's really, really important to me to know how the residents feel about issues that impact them, especially big issues, like raising taxes," Reynolds said. "This would allow us to make informed decisions. Not that we have to do this, but it's the right thing to do."
Those interested in serving on the committee should send an email by Thursday, Feb. 4, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trustees will contact residents after their Feb. 11 meeting, according to a news release. However, the size of the committee has yet to be determined.
Meetings will be held at the township community center, 4575 Madison Lane in Groveport.
"I want this committee to be autonomous," Pritchard said. "Trustees would support the committee, but I don't think we need to be a part of appointing new members. I would rather let the committee set its own structure and provide unvarnished opinions."
One of the committee's first issues will be a proposal to charge township residents higher license registration fees to help shore up the township's dwindling budget for road repairs.
Trustees held two public hearings last fall on the issue but have yet to vote on it.
By law, township trustees may enact a $5 increase on all motor-vehicle registration fees as part of the permissive motor-vehicle license tax.
In March 2018, the state authorized counties, municipalities and townships to impose the additional $5 fee, with the goal of increasing money for road repairs.
In 2019, Madison Township residents paid $59.50 to renew their car registrations for one year. In Franklin County, the cost to register a vehicle varies, depending on where owners live, with permissive, or add-on, taxes ranging from $20 to $25.
Permissive-tax revenue is to be used by counties and taxing districts for "planning, constructing, improving, maintaining and repairing public roads, highways, streets, and for the maintaining and repair of bridges and viaducts," according to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website.
"Our goal is to have something done by April or May," Pritchard said.
Those who serve on the committee will provide recommendations to trustees through a representative delegated by the committee. That person will attend board meetings.
Reynolds said applicants do not need to meet specific criteria, but trustees hope to "cast a broad net and have representation from different neighborhoods."
"I do know there are people who care, whether they are former trustees or those involved in their community," she said. "They have the pulse of the community, and they can ask their neighbors what they think. This gives us an opportunity to lean into those stakeholders who can then lean into other residents."