BATH TOWNSHIP — The Bath Township board of trustees held its annual reorganization meeting Dec. 30.
Trustee Tom Pitstick will serve as chairperson, and trustee Kassie Lester will serve as vice chairperson, while Trustee Steve Ross rotated out from his position as chairman and will continue to serve as trustee at large.
Historically, trustees rotate through the various positions. Newly elected trustees serve their first year as trustee at large, their second year as vice chairperson, third year as chairperson. As this is Lester’s second year as trustee, she has been appointed vice chair. Pitstick assumes the position of chairperson, following Ross’s tenure. This year marks the 21st year that Pitstick has served as trustee, and he has served as chairman every three years of his tenure.
“It’s typically been a rotation,” Pitstick said in a Tuesday phone call. “We kept everything the same. We had some outside pressure to elect Kassie chairman, but we’ve never had that pressure before.”
Pitstick’s nomination as chairman generated consternation from members of the community. Pitstick has come under fire for use of the biodigester on the 14.7 acres of his property. The biodigester breaks down food and animal waste into fertilizer, which is spread over approximately 2,200 acres of surrounding farmland, and methane gas for electricity. Pitstick is currently facing a class action lawsuit from Bath Township and Fairborn residents who have complained of the smell, considered a public nuisance. In 2019, the Dovetail biodigester facility was found in violation of the Ohio Revised Code and Bath Township Zoning Resolution. Dovetail and Pitstick have since appealed that ruling.
Two residents present at the meeting, David Anderson and Lorie Venable, demanded Pitstick resign his position as chairman due to the controversy. Prior to the meeting, the township received multiple emails requesting that neither Steve Ross nor Tom Pitstick become chairperson due to transparency issues. As such, Lester nominated herself.
“I nominated myself based on the community’s response,” Lester said on Tuesday. “The perception is that it would have been a show of good faith, based on the legal processes that are currently ongoing.”
The motion to elect Pitstick as chairman was passed unanimously by the trustees, after discussion.
In addition, Pitstick will serve as Bath Township’s representative to the Regional Planning & Coordinating Commission for 2021, with Lester as the alternate. Ross will serve as Bath Township’s representative to the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, again with Lester as alternate.
Reach London Bishop at 937-502-4532 or follow @LBishopFDH on Twitter.