The Geauga County Budget Commission approved the Russell Township budget for 2022 after a second hearing last week.

The township’s approved budget for 2022 is $10.77 million, according to the Geauga County Auditor’s Office.

The commission requested a second hearing after concerns were raised during the initial Aug. 16 hearing. Commission members cited concerns with the old Russell fire station, suggesting it should be razed. They also took issue with the 1.19-mill fire levy on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Geauga County Prosecutor James Flaiz, a member of the budget commission, said that he drives past the old fire house twice a day and would “love” to see excavators and demolition teams working on leveling the old fire house, now used for storage.

Russell trustees subsequently passed a resolution to cancel out both the prior resolutions regarding the fire station in favor of demolishing the old fire station, according to Trustee Kristina Port.

Trustee Jim Mueller said the budget commission told him to level the old station during last year’s budget hearings.

“You’re not telling us what buildings you have to fix and what buildings you have to tear down,” Mr. Mueller said, reflecting his comments to the budget commission.

Mr. Mueller also said that he thought that budget commission members were “off-base” with respect to their opinion of the fire station.

Trustees also passed a resolution to remove the 1.19-mill levy from the Nov. 2 ballot. Mrs. Port said that there might be money that could be appropriated from 2021 into the 2022 fiscal year that could be used to staff the fire department and noted that they could push the levy back for another year.

Russell trustees were to meet on Wednesday to discuss other matters linked to the budget hearing, according to Mr. Mueller.

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