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2017 State of the Township Address

Posted on Jan 8, 2018

Highlights Include Cost-Effectiveness and Expansion of Services

By Scott Paulson, President
Washington Township Board of Trustees
Presented January 8, 2018

I’m proud to report that 2017 has been a year of achievement, with efficient and high-quality service delivery. It’s also been a time when Washington Township has reached out to the community – to listen, to connect on a personal level, and to expand services to an ever widening range of residents.

A series of public events this year included Coffee with the Township, Coffee with a Cop, and a fall business breakfast for local business leaders. Each event provided an opportunity to meet members of our community, provide information, and listen to their ideas, concerns and priorities. Our Fire Department reached out with its traditional Ice Cream Social in August and with five days of open houses for National Fire Prevention Week. Both combined education with entertaining activities and community interaction.

About 100 older adults received attention through the STAR Program which seeks to keep seniors and at-risk residents safe, assist them in times of emergency, and connect them to existing services when needed. The township has made an ongoing commitment to the program by establishing a part-time coordinator position. Previously, STAR was an informal service offered by the Washington Township Substation of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, our Public Works Department reached out on social media with updated information about leaf collection and the Nutt Road improvement project where a one-mile section is being widened and curb, gutter and sidewalk installed.

Residents also communicated with Public Works – with resounding approval of a 1.85-mill Road and Bridge renewal levy in May. Levy revenue pays for road maintenance and construction, enabling the township to service an expanding network of roads that has reached 146.7 centerline miles. In 2017, the current levy funded the resurfacing of 26 streets and the repair or replacement of more than three miles of curb.

Our Recreation Department leveraged social media – and the power of community -- by crowd-sourcing the names for two new water-flume slides. After hundreds of submissions and a robust competition, members of the public named them Blue Lighting and Shark’s Revenge. They were introduced with community parties in a freshly painted natatorium with new lighting and doors.

Recreation’s best-known public event, Woodland Lights, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2017. What began as our holiday gift to the greater Miami Valley has now become a beloved holiday tradition visited annually by nearly 30,000 and supported by about 50 local businesses. Now the children who once walked the holiday path are bringing their own children.

The Recreation Department continued to expand its reach with a new mission statement focusing on diverse programs for all ages. The mission inspired an expansion of youth care programs to help working parents, an inclusive sports league, workshops for kids with Downs Syndrome, and sensory-friendly theatre productions for kids on the autism spectrum.

Cross-generational programming continued with the Rec West Enrichment Center celebrating its second anniversary with new programs and a growing membership. Rec West now serves over 1,700 senior adults – 500 more than when it opened – and offers more than 50 activities per month. Meanwhile, aquatics and fitness programs remained popular and summer camps grew in size. All of this was possible through collaborations with a wide range of community partners – from the library and school district to local businesses and the Dayton Ballet School which has taken up residence at Rec West.

Our accredited Fire Department also undertook a number of effective collaborations, with projects ranging from blood drives with the Community Blood Center to Safetyville Square with the Optimists and deputies from the Washington Township Substation.

By far, the department’s largest collaboration began early in the year when Washington Township fire dispatchers began working out of the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center. Leasing space at the center enables dispatch to keep pace with technology, ensures a more secure system, and saves the township costly equipment updates.

The call volume now being handled by dispatchers and emergency crews has continued to increase, with well over 7,000 emergency and non-emergency incidents in 2017.

The Fire Department has taken steps to maintain staffing levels and contain personnel costs by aggressively recruiting part-time firefighters. Meanwhile, staffing realignment has helped the department respond to changing needs.

As a pioneer in fire department accreditation, our department has encouraged the same dedication with its command staff. Four officers have now distinguished themselves by earning a total of six professional credentials from the Commission on Professional Credentialing.

Part of our mission is to create an environment focused on the future, so I am delighted to report that Washington Township continues to be a premier community to live, work and raise a family. This year’s Triennial Update by the Montgomery County Auditor estimates that residential market values in the unincorporated township increased by $203.7 million from 2016 to 2017. Annual residential zoning permits for new houses was more than triple that of the 2008 recession.

We’re also fortunate to see healthy nonresidential development. Southview Medical Center has updated and expanded its master plan, Symphony of Centerville memory care opened its doors, a number of new restaurants have opened, businesses on 725 have undertaken major redevelopment projects, and infill development projects such as a new SICSA Pet Adoption Center and Lighthouse Outdoor Lighting are underway.

I’m pleased to report that the township continues to provide residents with cost-effective government. An excellent example of that is our contract with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. This provides extremely cost-effective and equally high-quality policing that offers the benefits of local control along with the services of a larger police department.

Each year, our challenge is to stay within the confines of a budget made smaller by dwindling state revenues. We’ve met the challenge with general fund expenditures that are $774,000 less than in 2009, and that have been lower for seven of the previous eight years. In addition, the township's financial statements have again earned the highest rating possible from the Auditor of State.

Our dedicated staff makes all of this possible and I’d like to thank them for the work they do. Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Trustee Joyce Young for 22 years of service. Joyce’s mark on this Township can be felt in every way. She has brought a deep knowledge of issues to the board, and her steadfast commitment to this community and to doing good work for citizens showed in every action. She is principled, strong and compassionate. Her leadership will be sorely missed and we wish her the very best in future endeavors.


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