Thursday, May 20, 2004

Trustee critical of road financing

Speidel objects to local funds use

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP - Trustee Lee Speidel turned a routine vote into a forum to oppose the ways development is financed in this southern Warren County township.

At one point during Tuesday night's heated discussion, Speidel raised the possibility that he would not second a motion needed to pay nearly $175,000 for engineering and construction contracts related to Wilkens Boulevard, Deerfield Boulevard and Polo Drive.

"I do not approve spending public money from any source - TIF money, other Deerfield township taxes, county tax money - on roads of this nature," Speidel said. "And once again, I do not approve of spending township tax money to build county roads."

Speidel did second the motion and eventually voted in favor of the payments after Township Law Director Doug Miller warned the board that the township is under a legal obligation to pay the contracts. Not paying them could damage the township's credit.

"I don't know what my defense is if we're sued on this," Miller said.

Tuesday night's trustee meeting was the second time the board had discussed some of the payments, which come from various tax-increment financing reserves. The motion to pay failed at a May 7 meeting after Speidel did not second a motion from Trustee Randy Kuvin.

The board needs votes from both Speidel and Kuvin because Trustee Barbara Wilkens Reed abstains from voting on items about Wilkens Boulevard because of her family's connections to the area.

"We have business to do here, which is to pay a bill," Kuvin said at one point during Speidel's speech. "Those are discussions for another day that has, quite frankly, already passed."


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