Township trustees invite TID director to meeting

Batavia Township has invited Clermont County Transportation Improvement District (TID) director Steve Wharton to the Oct. 3 meeting in the hopes of gaining a better understanding of the TID and how it will effect the township.

The trustees also hope to get a better gauge on just what the township is expected to contribute to the newly formed organization.

Rex Parsons, administrator for Batavia Township, briefed the township at their Sept. 5 meeting on the TID.

“It consists of a five-member board,” said Parsons. “The purpose is, it’s a non-profit that is trying to get agreements or talk about improvements that can be made in the state Route 32 and state Route 28 corridors. These improvements are to be made all at one time. They’re trying to get federal money, and instead of just doing it in parts, they hope to get the funding all at once. It’s a joint effort. This is a far-reaching project, it reaches all the way across the county.”

In essence, Parsons said that the TID has a goal of completing a series of road improvements to the entire state Route 28 and state Route 32 corridor within Clermont County, however, the full scope of what that is is not yet known.

Improvements could include widening and limiting access points by making current intersections into overpasses only or dead ends.

“They would like to come speak to the trustees to give any clarification on exactly the funding they are going for,” said Parsons. “They can’t get the funds they need directly from the federal government, but they can use that as leverage for additional funds. I think the project is going to cost around $16 million.”

The trustees expressed some interest in the TID, as well as a number of concerns. One concern was about the composition of the board itself. Appointed by the Clermont County Commissioners, Wharton is joined by Clermont County Administrator Dave Spinney, Clermont County Engineer Pat Manger, Union Township Administrator Doug Walker and Miami Township Administrator Dave Duckworth.

That no other entities were involved, said the trustees, was disappointing, but Trustee Deborah Clepper said that she would like to learn more about the board regardless.

“The county appointed Steve Wharton, and he has gone out to find the others,” said Clepper. “There are a couple of other people who are at the core of this that the county put there to carry out this task. If they will come and talk to us about this, I want to hear about it.”

Parsons said that, in part, it was a matter of simplicity. He also said that any promises made by the TID are expected to be legally binding.

“They chose a five member board instead of a larger board because they felt it would move a little faster,” said Parsons. “This will require an agreement by everyone who participates, every municipality. It’s a binding contract. My first concern was they would ask us to chip in a certain amount of money and then it would never get built. Under the agreement, every entity that kicks funding in will see a return. This is our chance to get involved.”

Trustee Archie Wilson, however, said that it was hard to see Batavia Township’s part in the scheme of things when the TID is already formed and planning and has yet to meet with the township.

“How can you get involved if you’re not on the board?” said Wilson. “Where do we fit in? We really don’t fit in. Their plans and our plans can be two different things. They are always planning theirs and we always find out later.”