Orange Twp. to discuss retaining services of RPO

By D. Anthony Botkin - [email protected]

Orange Township trustees will meet in their first regular session of 2018 at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the township hall, 1680 East Orange Road.

On the agenda, the board is scheduled to hold a discussion, which could lead to a possible action, in regard to renewing a contract with RPO, LLC.

In the past, Trustee Lisa Knapp alleged that RPO had dealt fraudulently with the township. In an audit conducted last year by the Auditor of State’s Office, Fiscal Officer Joel Spitzer said RPO’s invoices were closely scrutinized.

“The State Auditor themselves said they really wanted to look at the documents and contracts for RPO,” Spitzer said. “That was thoroughly vetted and again came back as no intention of misuse, fraud or theft.”

Scott Overturf, the owner of RPO LLC, is an independent contractor hired by the township to co-author grants with Maintenance and Parks Director Beth Hugh and oversee the township’s projects from the design phase through to their completion.

Overturf told The Gazette, in a February 2017 interview with Hugh and Trustee Debbie Taranto, that he began writing grants for the township in 2008 with his first being for an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant that helped pay for the Orange Road East Bike Trail.

Through Overturf’s and Hugh’s efforts, the township has obtained grants that have allowed for the construction of more than 13 miles of trails, Orange Park, and the pedestrian bridge over US 23, Glen Oak playground, and improvements to the Orange Road intersection at US 23 and Green Meadow Road.

Hugh equated the grants to “money that’s already on the table.”

Taranto said at that time that applying for grants is the responsible thing to do for the taxpayers’ dollars.

“It makes tax dollars go so much further,” she said. “We were able to reduce the (parks) tax levy by .5 mil because we have been so successful.”

The trustees used the .5 mil to create a new roads maintenance levy that was passed by voters in November 2016.

“Scott is also involved with me at the beginning of the design phase,” Hugh said. “He is the second set of eyes catching the details.”

Hugh also said that Overturf ‘s work saves the township money on engineering fees.

“Instead of having an engineer design every inch of the trail, we can use 60 percent drawings which are significantly cheaper,” she said.

Other agenda items

• Trustees will hear a presentation from Delaware County Health Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson.

• Appointment of a liaison to the Orange Township Fire Department and Delaware County Sheriff Department. The motion was tabled at the trustees’ Jan. 4 meeting. Taranto did not attend the meeting and Trustee Ryan Rivers asked that the motion is tabled to allow for her input.

• Hugh is seeking approval of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources 2018 grant applications and a task/purchase order for RPO, LLC for an ODNR grant application for $6,000.

• Approval of a pay application and five change orders for JJ Schlaegel, Inc. for the Bale Keyon project totaling $706,939.

• Approval of a pay application to George J. Igel & Co., Inc. for the Alum Creek Bridge Trail project totaling $83,559.

• Approval of a pay application to the Trucco Construction Co., Inc. for the North Road Park project totaling $45,264.

• Chief Matt Noble, public safety, will ask trustees to accept 37 Cane’s gift card donations to the township’s fire department for free meals and to accept the retirement/resignation of Donald Tuller Jr., effective Feb. 7.

By D. Anthony Botkin

[email protected]

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.

Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.