City, township, school officials meet

By Cecilia Fox - For the Miami Valley Today

TIPP CITY — On Monday, city, school and township officials met for their regular Tri-Agency meeting.

The meeting, hosted by the township, offers local agencies a chance to discuss upcoming events and ongoing projects.

Trustee Ron Thuma said the township is busy getting the cemetery ready for Memorial Day, and invited the community to observe the ceremony.

“If you haven’t participated, I would ask you to come out, spend about an hour of your time,” he said, noting that there will be a speaker and music at Maple Hill Cemetery.

Thuma also said that the township has “potholes everywhere” this spring and that staff is “trying like crazy” to get the roads taken care of.

“There’s just not enough bucks to do it all,” he said.

Thuma added that township officials and staff recently met with the new Chief of Emergency Services, Cameron Haller. Trustee Martin English took him on a tour of the township, showing him areas where accidents and fire might happen or where access to sites might be tricky.

Superintendent Gretta Kumpf provided an update on the district’s bond issue, which is set to appear on the ballot next week. She said that district representatives have hosted meetings and met with many local organizations to discuss the bond issue.

The district has placed a 27-year, $35.75 million bond issue on the May ballot to fund the renovation of approximately 60 percent of L.T. Ball Intermediate School and the addition of about 94,000 square feet in new classrooms, an additional gymnasium and a stage. A letter from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) put the state’s co-funding into question because of discrepancies between the agreed upon master facilities plan and the plan the district has shared with the public. The district said that letter seemed “inconsistent” with previous communications from the OFCC.

“We try to be very open and transparent about our master plan and you’ve seen some thing about honesty… For us, that’s hurtful,” Kumpf said. “We’ve been putting as much out as we can and trying to be as transparent as we can and offering as many opportunities to talk as we can.”

The project has been planned as part of the OFCC’s Expedited Local Partnership program. The OFCC has offered co-funding at a 35 percent rate, which the district would receive as a reimbursement at a later time. The estimated co-funding amount from the state is $10,092,584.

Kumpf said the millage rate of the bond issue will be 5.4 mills, but for the first five years of its term, 3.87 mills will be collected, enough to pay the interest on the project until the high school bond is paid off in 2024.

She also provided an update on the private fundraising efforts to build a new stadium as led by the Tipp Pride Association. A contract for the second phase of the project, new restrooms and concessions, was approved by the school board at their last meeting.

“That’s an exciting next piece that will be in place for next fall,” she said.

City Manager Tim Eggleston touched on ongoing construction in the city, including several housing developments. Totally, including some development in the township, there will be “200-300 homes that are being built, give or take,” between several developments, he said.

The group also heard an update from Kathy Taylor of Tipp Monroe Community Services, who said that the organization has a newly re-designed website that allows for online program registration.

TMCS is gearing up for its annual summer lunch program, which starts providing free lunches after the school year ends until the next one begins. The organization also started a new program this school year, Snack Packs, providing weekend food for students in middle school and high school.

By Cecilia Fox

For the Miami Valley Today