The Promise of Spring
If you are like me you can't wait for the arrival of spring. The past four months, though spectacular at times, proved to be one of the most expensive winters on record. The combination of high gasoline prices, increased natural gas charges and bitter cold, has had a devastating effect on many of us. As the Township Trustee I raised our income guidelines to 125% of the federal poverty level. This was designed to help those working poor and those on fixed incomes. The obligation of the trustee is to provide assistance when circumstances are beyond the control of household members and they can't meet their environmental needs. This winter weather was beyond everyone's control and we have been serving people in record numbers. Thanks to careful planning, and astute business decisions with your tax dollars we, unlike other townships in the state, have not had to raise taxes. As your elected official I made a promise to protect the needs of those who cannot help themselves, I also made a promise to be a worthy steward of your resources. This season has tested both ends of the spectrum. With a 37% increase in client applications, the rising cost of heating bills and the shortened time frame for paying water bills, our work is cut out for us. During the first four years of my administration our focus was on community partnerships, now those relationships are becoming more relevant than ever. Programs such as The Gift of Warmth, the Energy Assistance Program and the City Utilities Relief Fund create additional resources at a time when they are needed most.
Every year I look forward to the longer days and warmer temperatures that the spring season affords us. This year I am thankful for the plans we made four years ago. When I see tax increases, budget cuts, and the reduction of necessary services, I realize the importance of cooperation rather than competition with other agencies and faith-based organizations. We all have the same goals in mind and I'm glad we're working together to achieve them.