VIENNA - There were only a few empty seats in town hall Monday, as about 30 residents showed up to share their suggestions on how to spend the township's $3.8 million windfall.
"We're here for additional ideas," Trustee Phil Pegg said, "before we actually begin implementing the funds."
The public work session, chaired by Pegg and Trustee Heidi Brown, focused on what to do with the money acquired through the inheritance tax on the estate of John Rebhan II. Rebhan, who died in December 2008, was the owner-operator of Warren Fabricating and Machining Corp. and Ohio Steel Sheet & Plate.
The inheritance is nearly three times the township's annual operating budget of $1.2 million to $1.3 million. Fiscal Officer Vicki Anzur said she has spoken with local banks about investment options, but that the use of the funds is limited by Ohio Revised Code regulations.
About 10 residents spoke on how they would like to see the money spent. Ideas included revamping the township's recycling drop-off location, hiring a consultant to bring in commerce, building a basketball court at the school, digging ditches and fixing sewers.
The largest concerns, mentioned by several residents, included fixing and expanding the township cemetery and remodeling the police station.
Roseann Kennedy suggested building a small chapel for the cemetery.
"At least if you had a building," Kennedy said, "you'd be out of the cold."
Kennedy said she had a funeral service at the cemetery late in December and the small tent provided by the township did not provide adequate coverage. Kennedy also commented on the road department near the cemetery, which detracts for the appearance during services. A couple other residents concurred with her.
Mary Swift, president of the neighborhood watch group, spoke about the police station. She said their the station lacks a proper interrogation room. When officers have to question suspects, they must drive them over to another community's department, she said.
"It defeats the purpose of having a police officer in your community," Swift said.
Swift also said that when she was last at the station, the roof was leaking and she was able to hear everything that was going on in the building because the police chief does not have a separate office.
The trustees commented on many of the suggestions.
"We don't want to use this money for any maintenance of departments," Brown said.
Rather, Brown said they are looking into grants that they can match.
"The idea is not to spend $3.8 million tomorrow," Brown said, "we want to make that money last, maybe for 23 years."
Trustees will be taking the suggestions into consideration as they proceed with planning their next steps.
Rebhan's residence had been claimed by both Warren and Vienna. The issue was put to rest in early January 2012, when a visiting judge ruled in favor of Vienna.