August 23, 2006
The purpose of tonight’s special meeting is to have an
open forum to discuss the possible annexation by the City of
Trustee President Todd D. Bosley opened the meeting at 7:00 PM and led the staff and approximately 50+ residents in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Lisa Shafer explained the purpose of tonight’s meeting and introduced Louisville City Manager, Tom Ault, who was also in attendance at tonight’s meeting.
Mr. Ault said the possible annexation is in the planning and talking stage. He said the City did have a work session to talk about the possibility of annexation of properties along SR44. He said they are aware that several property owners in this area are having problems with their septic system. Residents in the audience said that was not true. Mr. Ault said they have been contacted by four (4) out of the 28 property owners in this area expressing an interest in receiving water and/or sanitary sewer services. Residents in the audience wanted to know whom these people were. Mr. Ault stated he would not provide that information at this time.
Residents in the audience began speaking out at one time. The Board asked the residents to please hold their comments and questions until Mr. Ault was finished.
Mr. Ault said the City has at least (since 2000) expressed interest in annexation on several areas along the borders and this particular area has been one of them since at least 2000. Mr. Ault said as of this time, they have not approached anyone stating the City has not initiated contact with a single property owner about annexing property into the City. He said in order to know what the potential is, the first thing they have to do is find out the cost to extend water and sewer into that area and if it’s feasible for them to do so.
Mr. Ault explained the City has requested a preliminary estimate from a consulting engineering firm. He expects to have those figures by the end of next week. He stated after that, he will meet with City Council to find out if this expenditure is something worth pursuing so they can provide sewer and water to those who want it. Mr. Ault emphasized there is nothing saying anyone else has to pursue it and explained it would be there for those residents who would want it.
Mr. Ault continued saying because this is a significant cost, the question is if the City is willing to take on the cost on its own or would there be a front footage sharing of the cost for those who would want to tie into the system. Mr. Ault said those decisions have not yet been made and until this decision has been made, he has no intention to contact anyone to initiate anything.
Todd Bosley asked about the Seiple (Lithograph) property asking if there is or has been interest or is this what the whole plan is about – to extend water and sewer so that particular farm might one day become a development. Mr. Ault said he doesn’t even know where the Seiple farm is. Mr. Bosley said its north of the old Dairy Mart and goes almost back to SR62.
Special Meeting - August 23, 2006 (Cont.)
Lisa Shafer commented she found out about the possible annexation by reading the article in the Louisville Herald and because several residents contacted her. She said we always talk about the City and the Township working together but this pretty much blind-sighted us. She continued by saying if the City has already started or initiated a study, the Trustees want to protect the township and the residents who put them in office to do.
Mr. Ault said it was nothing more than a work session and discussion with City Council whether or not they should be using extensions of water or sewer service as incentives for annexation to expand the City’s boundaries. He continued by saying they were contacted by the Health Department because they had concerns in this area. Mr. Ault said at this time, this is an exploration only.
Lisa Shafer said one of the biggest concerns is that there are residents within that general area who have already put brand new septic tanks in and/or are getting ready to install new tanks. Due to the possibility of annexation and the fact that there has been movement on the project, township residents have stopped this process.
Mr. Ault said there is no project at this point – they are exploring the possibility of whether it’s something they can or should pursue.
Mr. Ault said if they were told that every property owner doesn’t want it, why would they go to the expense of putting a sewer or water line in that’s not going to service anyone. He said they would not recover any of the costs and he said the cost is large.
Todd Bosley said that’s what everyone is worried about – the fact that there is talk of annexation. Why are we talking about ii? Is there a plan? What are we dealing with? Mr. Bosley explained that’s why we’re here tonight and said it doesn’t seem feasible to him that we would be talking about putting water and sewer lines along SR44 unless there’s a plan or there was something moving forward.
Mr. Ault said there are three different forms of annexation. One is by the property owners explaining in every case in the last 15 years in which the City has been involved in annexation, it has been initiated by the property owners and not by the City. The City can initiate annexation, but they have no desire to do so.
Mr. Ault said the City could not force anyone to condemn a well or septic system – that authority only comes from the Health Department. He said even if lines are run, the City could not force anyone to tie into it. That is the resident’s choice.
Mr. Ault explained water and sewer does not pay for itself. City residents support the system through income tax dollars. Properties receiving water and sewer service who are not annexed pay double rates instead of a single utility rate.
The residents in attendance had a lot of questions and comments and there was much discussion between the Board, Mr. Ault and residents.
Residents who spoke and/or asked questions were: George Sickles, James Sickles, Paul Mueller, Warren Mathes, Toni Mathes, Sandy Dayton, Charles Costa, Louise Sacconi, Bonnie Witmer, Chuck Witmer, Lois Windemuth, Clifford McCourt, and Jim Renie.
Special Meeting - August 23, 2006 (Cont.)
Mr. Ault said the City holds work sessions prior to Louisville City Council meetings starting at 5:30 PM and are open to the public. Anyone wanting to speak at a Council Meeting must get on the agenda on Thursday prior to the Monday meeting.
The Board requested Keith Lasure to either call or send a letter to Todd Paulus at the Stark County Health Department asking for a ‘letter of criteria’ for determining the necessity for annexation in an area regarding the extension of sewer lines. Mr. Lasure was also asked to talk to Attorney Hall at Perry Twp. regarding steps the township should follow against an annexation and then send a letter to each resident notifying them of their legal rights.
Mr. Ault told the Board if they would like a copy of the minutes from their Work Session/Council Meeting regarding the annexation, call his office and he would be happy to send a copy.
Todd Bosley said the trustees are available to all residents and hoped that Mr. Ault would come forth with the plans and make them available to the Township. Mr. Bosley said he feels the City and the Township should be working together, and the Board agreed.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM, and the regular Trustees Meeting followed.
ATTEST: FISCAL OFFICER TODD D. BOSLEY, PRESIDENT
LISA R. SHAFER, VICE PRESIDENT
MICHALE L. LYNCH, TRUSTEE