Obstacles for GPD's jurisdictional transition into Madison Township; quarry ideas discussed

7-17-23 Grate com

Carol Grate, July's citizen of the month, and her husband, Keith, (both at center) are pictured with council members (l-r) Cory Taylor, Phil Clyburn, Mary Ellen McMurry, Brenda Losey, and Jessalynn Hunter. City manager Todd Wilkin is pictured on the far right. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)

7-17-23 council

Greenfield Council members (l-r) Mary Ellen McMurry, Cory Taylor, Phil Clyburn, Jessalynn Hunter, and Brenda Losey are pictured during Monday's regular meeting. (Photo by Angela Shepherd)

By Angela Shepherd
Village of Greenfield

July 1 began the Greenfield Police Department’s coverage of all of Madison Township following a contract between the Madison Township trustees and the village of Greenfield, but the transition has been met with some obstacles.

According to Greenfield City Manager Todd Wilkin at the July 17 village council meeting, the discussions that led to the contract have gone on for years relating to Madison Township citizens outside of Greenfield’s municipal boundaries not getting police protection as quickly as they need because the sheriff’s department is 20 minutes away, and even then the responding deputy might be coming from the other side of the county. Oftentimes, Wilkin said, Greenfield ends up covering the Madison Township calls anyway. 

Additionally, the expanded jurisdiction serves to further hamper drug and other criminal activity, Wilkin said, which will be beneficial not only to Madison Township and Greenfield, but the region.

Since the contract began, though, Wilkin said the village has received “unpleasant” phone calls from the sheriff’s office, unscheduled meetings from the sheriff and deputy sheriff, and unfair treatment at the county jail. Additionally, 9-1-1 calls have yet, at least by the time Wilkin prepared his report on Monday, to be transferred to Greenfield, something that has been requested twice by the trustees of Madison Township, once through a mailed letter and then by certified letter. 

Council member Cory Taylor asked Wilkin what the next step would be to get the emergency calls transferred to Greenfield. Wilkin answered that Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins, who also represents all the townships, would likely have to get involved. 

Wilkin noted that while the issues are likely politically fueled, this is something that could end up being a matter of life and death if those calls don’t get transferred. 

This is very unfortunate as it is our job to protect the peace and safety of all the citizens of Greenfield, and now also the citizens of Madison Township,” Wilkin said.

The citizens of Madison Township will be able to weigh in with their vote on the police protection through Greenfield Police Department on the November ballot, Wilkin said, as the trustees have said they plan to have the measure added. 

In other business, Carol Grate is July’s citizen of the month. Grate was nominated by another citizen for her “character and years of volunteerism on several Greenfield projects.” Wilkin noted that Grate is an avid runner and is often seen running throughout the town, and while she’s running, she is able to carry on a conversation without struggle, something a lot of us would find challenging. She has run the Boston Marathon two times, he said. Grate is “always full of positive energy and has a tremendous outlook on life,” Wilkin said. 

Rob Hamilton of the Greenfield Police Department is July’s employee of the month. Wilkin said village employees recently took part in a weight loss competition against one another. While only about 12 employees participated, they lost nearly 150 pounds combined. Wilkin said, “Hamilton was the overall loser, but also the winner.” And for that hard work and the decision to get healthier, he is being recognized.

Quarry development ideas discussed

Wilkin also reported that the village recently met with the U.S. Army Corp.of Engineers (USACE) about ideas for development at the quarry. Steering committee meetings are happening regarding this development, which is included in what would be considered Greenfield’s parks district. 

The village has been working with OHM Advisors and PROS Consulting as part of the planning process through the Appalachian Community Grant program to develop a parks district. The village met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to sort of gauge its position on development at the quarry, specifically for a campground there. The meeting was positive, Wilkin said, and he is now tasked with putting a narrative together regarding the development ideas for further review by the USACE. 

While the “end plan” is not yet known as far as development, Wilkin said, right now it is in the village’s best interest to go ahead and get the USACE on board, which can be beneficial down the road. 

The preliminary numbers for June as reported by finance director Gary Lewis are: month-to-date revenue - $425,362; month-to-date expense - $281,472; year-to-date revenue - $2.69 million; year-to-date expense - $1.85 million; and a general fund balance of $712,693.

Near the conclusion of the meeting, council members remarked on the All Class Reunion held on July 15 at McClain High School and what a “phenomenal” event it was, adding thanks to all those who organized the event. Wilkin thanked Ron Coffey for reading the village’s proclamation in his place for the Edward Lee McClain Day ceremony that kicked off the day's of events. 

The Greenfield council meets in regular session on the first and third Monday of each month at 4:45 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of the city building. Meetings are typically streamed live on Facebook. For information and updates, go to greenfieldohio.netor the Village of Greenfield, Ohio Facebook page. The village offices may be reached by calling 937-981-3500.