Swanton Village Council last Monday passed the first reading of an ordinance that would seek to separate the village from Swancreek and Fulton townships in Fulton County.
Council approved the reading unanimously, but there were some concerns voiced. Two more readings are required for the ordinance, and final approval of the separation would be up to the Fulton County Commissioners. The ordinance does not include Lucas County.
Councilman Mike Rochelle said the main reason for the ordinance is the taxes village residents pay to the township without seeing any services. “We’re just looking to define some tax boundaries and have the monies that our village residents pay go to the entity that serves them,” he said.
Mayor Ann Roth agreed, saying it was antiquated and unnecessary to have overlapping townships and municipalities. “(Village residents) are truly getting double-taxed but not receiving any services for paying that tax,” she said.
Village residents in Swancreek Township pay inside millage and a fire/EMS levy to the township. Fulton Township residents in the village pay that as well as a roads levy.
“We do treasure their friendship and the ability to work with them on mutual interest projects,” said Roth.
The loss of tax money to the townships would be considerable, and the way the issue was communicated was brought up as a concern.
“I just wish that we could have been included in the discussions from the beginning, because it is going to be a rather significant hit to our budget, and we’re going to have to prepare for that,” Rick Kazmierczak, Swancreek Township trustee said at the meeting.
Council member Tamara Haselman voiced concern about that communication with the townships. “That was another one of my questions and concerns. How was it presented, and how do they prepare for the financial change?”
She added that there is no need to rush this through so fast without discussion with the townships.
“I’m not going to be mad at everybody, but again, people that are working together don’t do this to each other,” Kazmierczak said. “This is 11 percent of our budget.”
Roth said that the village understands the struggle of losing a significant portion of yearly revenue.
“The Village of Swanton, if anyone, knows how to juggle a budget,” Roth said. “Especially when we lost the turnpike plaza, and we lost well over $250,000 a year, just in that water revenue alone.”
Following discussion, council unanimously approved the first reading of the ordinance with an agreement to discuss the matter further with township representatives.
Following an executive session of just over 50 minutes, council appointed Kathy Kreuz to the vacant seat on Swanton Village Council. She fills the term vacated following the death of Gary Moore. It expires Dec. 31, 2017.
Kreuz was serving as village clerk, which made for an unusual series of events at the meeting. She first had to resign as village clerk, which was accepted by village council. Then she was sworn into council by village solicitor Alan Lehenbauer.
Kreuz then helped Director of Finance Karla Sexton as she filled in with the clerk duties, while at the same serving as a member of council.
• The Pilliod Park repaving project was awarded to Allied Paving of Holland for $30,933. That is significantly lower than previous bids, which were closer to $50,000.
The village has received a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to pay for $24,000 of the project.
The tentative start date for the project, which is includes repaving of the trail and parking lot, is mid-July.
• Haselman objected to the village buying a $100 advertisement to be included in the Swanton High School fall and winter athletic programs. “I just think it’s a bad idea to use our taxpayer money that way,” she said.
Rochelle said he was fine with it because it showed community support. He made the motion to approve the $100 ad along with a $100 for the school yearbook. It was approved 5-1, with Haselman voting no.
The village had an ad in last year’s programs.
• The new sign at Memorial Park is up, but not yet on. The village is waiting on Time Warner and Toledo Edison, according to administrator Rosanna Hoelzle. “There were a few other items which needed to be completed before the sign will be up and running,” she said.
• Council approved on emergency an ordinance authorizing the administrator to enter in to a loan agreement with the Ohio Water Development Authority for the Clark Street sewer separation project.
• Council passed four emergency ordinances declaring properties a nuisance and authorizing abatement. They were at 506 W. Garfield Ave., 230 Munson Road, 131 Harrison, and 201 N. Main St.
• Council changed their July meeting date to July 11.
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010