Washington TownshipMontgomery County, Ohio

State of the Township Report

State of the Township Report
Posted on 01/08/2019

State of the Township 

By Scott Paulson, President
Washington Twp. Board of Trustees
Presented January 7, 2019

The strongest communities are those where participation comes from all directions -- residents, government, public organizations, nonprofits and local businesses.

Washington Township always has been strong in this regard, but in 2018 we topped ourselves. In addition to ongoing collaborations such as the Americana Festival where former Trustee Joyce Young served as grand marshal, our Recreation Department expanded cost-effective collaborations with business and nonprofit partners through numerous programs and joined the library and parks in the Race to the Holidays. The township hosted a breakfast for business leaders. Our Fire Department welcomed residents to the 70th Firefighters Ice Cream Social and also opened its fire stations to well over 1,000 residents during National Fire Prevention Week.

Township Residents

You, our residents, supported these events and volunteered in ways too numerous to recount. We are grateful for your service and hope to inspire this in future generations, so in 2018 established a $500 scholarship that accompanies our annual Community Service Award, given to a high school student who embodies service.

Our residents also have supported their community by renewing an expiring 4.65-mill Fire Levy and approving a 1-mill Recreation levy, the first millage increase in the 30-year history of the Recreation Department. Your support of the Rec Levy not only is paying for the maintenance and improvement of aging facilities; it has enabled the township to assume responsibility for senior programming in our community. For this successful transition, our recreation staff was presented with a first place award in Management Innovation from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association. In a very real sense, the award recognizes the critical support that our residents provided.

Programs for Every Age

Besides benefiting seniors, levy revenue is helping expand programs for every age and stage of life, including parents and preschoolers. Lil Crew, a morning care program with flexible scheduling, was added and babysitting was reinstated on weekday evenings for parents who work out or take a class. Meanwhile, preschoolers can use a bright new indoor Garden Playhouse at Rec West, purchased with a generous donation from the Yukta Garg Memorial Fund.

All ages have enjoyed the holiday tradition, Woodland Lights, for the past 26 years. Now, Family Adventure Day is offering a new tradition in the springtime. Nearly 600 people attended the second annual event with activities such as kayaking, zip line and obstacle course. Other recreation highlights included a grant for recycling, new access to certified sports medicine experts, and another successful summer camp season.

Meanwhile, the Recreation Department also reached out to Centerville/Washington Township businesses with memberships that enable them to pass along resident rates to their employees and benefit from incentives such as facility rentals and priority registration.

Businesses & Nonprofits

Businesses and nonprofits contribute extensively to our community, in part through new construction, expansion, and redevelopment projects reviewed by our Development Services Department. In 2018, SICSA broke ground on its $8 million headquarters in the southwest part of the township, Dunkin’ began its new store in the north, and Yankee Station commercial center on Miamisburg-Centerville Road made significant interior and exterior improvements. Oberer Homes broke ground on patio homes in Washington Trace while seven single-family residential developments continued to add new housing. Ribbon cuttings included Ohio’s Hospice, Incenta Rewards and Big Lots.

Additional projects include an office building for Hospice of Dayton and operating room and emergency department expansions at Southview Medical Center that are soon to come to fruition. As the township considered these larger projects, care also was taken to review ongoing requests for minor property improvements and to promote the maintenance of residential and business properties. Properties that excel at beautification were recognized with 13 Beautification Awards from our Visual Improvement Program Committee, with assistance from our Public Works Department.

Public Works Projects

Also in 2018, Public Works improved travel in the south part of the township with completion of the Nutt Road project. A one-mile section from School House Park to Clyo Road was widened to three lanes and curb, gutter and sidewalk added. The $3.1 million project marks the third and final phase of widening and improving Nutt from State Route 48 to Clyo. The department also oversaw the resurfacing of 19 roads, including 16 neighborhood streets, sections of Paragon and Lyons roads, and Spring Valley Pike from Washington Church Road east to the township line. Southbook Drive received new curbs from Alex-Bell Road to Yorkcliff Place.

Fire & Emergency Medical

Meanwhile, our Fire Department had a banner year, earning accreditation for the third time through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, a benchmark that puts departments on a course of continuous improvement. We remain the only accredited fire department in the Miami Valley and one of just nine in Ohio. In making their decision, commissioners praised our department’s accreditation report and officer credentialing. At that time, five of our officers were credentialed, more than any department in Ohio. By November, two more credentials, each for Chief Fire Officer, were earned. Another outcome of accreditation is the improvement of firefighter safety. To that end, a diesel exhaust capture system that reduces exposure to fumes was added at three stations so that all five fire stations are now equipped.

A second highpoint came when the fire department learned that a new fire suppression rating by the Insurance Services Office places our community among the top 4 percent nationally, a designation that can help keep insurance rates low.

Last year also was one of change. In August, the Regional Dispatch Center began dispatching fire and EMS calls, a function previously performed by township dispatchers working out of the RDC. This transition provides the most up-to-date technology, ensures a more secure dispatch system, and saves costly equipment updates. The estimated $500,000 annual cost savings is being used to address staffing challenges caused by a shortage of part-time firefighters felt throughout southwest Ohio. That and other cost-savings enabled the township to hire 12 full-time firefighters to help fill the staffing gap. Resources are available to fund the new positions through 2020 when another revenue source will be needed. However, based on current trends, it’s anticipated that even more firefighters will be needed.

Police Services

Cost-effectiveness also is an important aspect of our partnership with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office which provides high-quality policing with the benefits of local control and the services of a larger police department. This year, we welcomed a new police director, Mike Brem, to our staff. He has continued our substation’s community-oriented Coffee with a Cop program, maintained a high clearance rate for crimes, and expanded services with a drug drop off box at our government center. The sheriff’s office and township also participated with all five public entities -- schools, government, library, parks -- in the We Support Safe Communities initiative which encourages and supports the safe storage of firearms.

Finance & Leadership

Supporting all township services is our Finance Department which produces the township’s financial statements. Under the guidance of Fiscal Officer Tom Zobrist, who retired in the spring, these again earned the highest rating from the Auditor of State. Our new fiscal officer, Gary Smiga, a former Centerville City Schools superintendent, is continuing the tradition of strong fiscal management. And since January, Sharon Lowry has applied her extensive experience as an educator, community volunteer and business owner to her post as a township trustee.

I am proud to report that, together, we have completed a year of fiscal responsibility, conservative financial management, and services that respond to the needs of our community.