Top Hayes Twp. officials resign

By Genine Hopkins

Hayes Township residents were surprised to hear that two of their officials – Clerk Kevin Breese and Supervisor Ray Augenstein – handed over letters of resignation to the Board of Trustees at the Tuesday, July 16th meeting.

Breese gave personal reasons for his resignation, while Augenstein stated that ill health and personal reasons were his justification.  Augenstein had attempted to pull out of the November 2012 race but rescinded, winning over his opponent Ms. Virginia Collins.  He had originally planned on resigning after election, but attempted to stay, a decision that he apparently regretted.

Because both Breese and Augenstein can still rescind their formal resignations, the township will not move forward on getting replacements until late August or early September.  Breese’s last day will be August 10, 2013 and Augenstein’s last day will be August 24, 2013.

News wasn’t all bad at the meeting.  The township received approval for a grant to help update their parks and recreation and committees have been created to determine how to best utilize the money received.  Additionally, the township has been working on developing a partnership with the City of Harrison, which the township physically surrounds.

Several residents brought concerns about lawns that violate the township’s ordinances, but since Hayes Township isn’t chartered, the only course of action that can be taken is to provide letters of the violation to property owners not in compliance, and, if not corrected, cite the property owner.  The matter is usually taken care of prior to proceeding to court, but that journey can take a bit longer than many neighbors may desire.  Hayes Township also has roughly 33 percent of its homes/property in foreclosure, the highest number in the county, and no action can be taken until that process is completed.

Citizens were pleased to hear that the former meth lab, located just behind Sharp’s Party Store on Business 127, has been cleared.

“It has been a long time coming, but it’s gone,” stated Trustee Maye Tessner-Rood, “We’ll take our victories as they come.”
Tessner-Rood also brought up the surveys the township has put together to improve the area for both residential and businesses.  She stated the board is trying to find ways to improve the township’s business atmosphere while protecting its natural beauty.

“We will be conducting the surveys at the Harrison Street Fair this August and also conducting a Hayes Township Business After-Hours.  Both of those events will hopefully provide adequate information on how the people who live and own businesses here want to proceed with economic growth in the area,” she told the Review.

Tessner-Rood hopes that the positive position the township is taking toward including all parties to develop its economy will help citizens look past the prior problems and forward to the future.

“We can’t change the past, but we can make sure we make the right decisions in the future,” she stated.

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