MAD RIVER TOWNSHIP – Mad River Township trustees are moving forward with purchasing surveillance cameras for the Enon Cemetery after a number of residents reported to township officials that potted flowers and plants were stolen off the gravesites of family members during the month of May.
“Township officials work very hard to maintain the cemetery and provide a nice resting place for those residents who have departed. Unfortunately, changing times have forced us to take certain security measures,” Township Trustee President Joe Catanzaro said during Monday, June 15 township meeting.
Over the last two weeks, township trustees procured several estimates for a security system that would include four or five surveillance cameras which would be installed in specific locations in the cemetery. Catanzaro reported that the surveillance cameras would cost between $1,500 and $2,000.
“I think something in this price range is very adequate,” said Catanzaro. “I would like to have the security system hooked up to one or more computers too. That way, someone can often view the captured images, stamped times, and dates that are fed to the computer from the cameras.”
He also pointed out that installing cameras would help deter possible vandalism in the future and help local law enforcement track down anyone who commits a crime while on the cemetery premises.
Township Trustee Kathy Estep suggested placing warning signs throughout the cemetery that would remind visitors that the cemetery is monitored by surveillance cameras.
“I believe the signs would be effective,” Estep said. “Hopefully, our efforts will resolve the issue.”
The township trustees did not confirm when the security system would be installed, but Catanzaro said they would prefer having them installed as soon as possible.
According to Mad River Township Cemetery Sexton Don O’Connor, most of the thefts occurred in the section of the cemetery which is located nearest to Dayton-Springfield Road. However, some potted flowers were stolen off of gravesites in other sections of the cemetery as well.
Township Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Wise stated that he had increased patrols throughout the cemetery grounds over the last several weeks to help thwart any further incidents by providing a higher, visible presence by law enforcement. Both Wise and O’Connor reported to trustees on Monday that no additional thefts in the cemetery had been reported this month.
In other business, township trustees unanimously approved a donation of $1,100 to the Enon VFW Post 8437 which will be used to purchase fireworks for the community fireworks display on July 3. Each year, the local fireworks display is paid for through generous donations.
Dennis Brown, Jr Vice Commander at the Enon VFW Post, told township trustees on Monday that the price for fireworks had increased 10 percent since 2014.
“I believe that the post offers one of the best fireworks display in Southwestern Ohio. However, the cost of fireworks has increased $1,000 since last year. In years past, the post paid $10,000, but the same amount of fireworks will cost us $11,000 this year,” Brown said.
Trustee Catanzaro recommended that the township also increase its donation 10 percent as well. For many years, the township has made an annual donation of $1,000. Township Trustees Robert McClure Jr. and Estep also agreed. Brown expressed his appreciation, on behalf of the Enon VFW Post, to the township trustees.
The board of trustees will hold a public hearing on the proposed tax budget for fiscal year 2016 at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 6. A regular township session will follow at 7:30 p.m.