Coldwater officials propose
By BETTY LAWRENCE
Coldwater officials are asking village residents to approve
four amendments to the village’s charter at the Nov. 3
The community voted to become a charter village in 2000, which
sets up specific guidelines for how the village government operates.
On the ballot will be a request to change the sections in the
charter on the planning commission, board of zoning appeals,
removal from office and contracts and purchasing.
Changes in the five-member planning commission and board of
zoning appeals would include the village council selecting one
council member to serve on the planning commission, instead
of the mayor appointing someone to that seat, and prohibiting
zoning board members from serving on the planning commission.
“Basically, we want to have a distribution of powers for
each board or commission. We want the mayor to have representation
and a council member on each, along with three village residents,”
explained Village Manager-Engineer Eric Thomas. “That
way there are executive, legislative and representatives from
the people on each board.”
The proposed change to the removal from office section states
that three-fourths of the council must approve a removal, up
from the current two-thirds.
“This is just to help us stay consistent with the Ohio
Revised Code. It makes it tougher to remove someone,”
The amendments to the contracts and purchasing section of the
charter simply deals with a minor wording change. The bid threshold
of $15,000 will not change.
Each of the proposed changes will be voted on separately.
A five-member charter review commission meets annually to look
over the charter and take recommended changes to council. If
there are any changes to the charter, council must put those
changes on the ballot at the next general election.
Serving on the commission are Coldwater Mayor Vern Stammen and
residents Joe Maruna, Judy Koesters, Maurice Cron and Tony Schwendeman.
Township voters will decide on fire levies
By TIMOTHY COX
Jefferson Township residents outside the city of Celina will
be asked to approve a 1.6-mill property tax levy on the Nov.
4 ballot to keep intact the township’s agreement with
the city for fire protection and ambulance services.
The five-year levy would raise about $98,000 annually. The township
now pays about $57,000 annually for fire and ambulance services.
Fire levies also will appear on the ballot in Franklin Township
and the Southwest Mercer Fire District that includes Fort Recovery.
Jefferson Township officials were forced to seek an increased
amount after Celina city officials determined the city was losing
money through the existing deal. After more than a year of negotiations,
the city and township came to contract terms that nearly doubles
the township’s annual cost. Approval of the levy is necessary
for the township to meet the financial terms of the five-year
The Celina Fire Department responds to fire calls in Jefferson,
Hopewell and Center townships in addition to the city. Outside-the-city
runs account for nearly 40 percent of all runs the department
makes, officials say. Runs to Jefferson Township alone account
for 27 percent of all runs.
If the levy fails, the contract is void and the parties would
presumably have to return to the bargaining table to hammer
out an arrangement for next year.
Only Jefferson Township voters outside the city limits will
vote on the fire levy. City residents also would not be subject
to the property tax if the levy passes, even though they live
in Jefferson Township.
Township trustees had considered the possibility of creating
their own fire department but ultimately decided it would be
cheaper to stick with Celina. Township Clerk Grant Cook said
those discussions would probably only be reopened if the levy
Cook said township voters have been supportive of fire issues
in the past and said he believes they will understand the necessity
of this levy attempt. Despite the increase costs, the rise in
millage to the property owners is nominal, he said. The last
fire levy collected at 1.38 mills while the new attempt is 1.6
Franklin Township voters will find a 1-mill, five-year property
tax levy on their ballots. The $52,537 the levy would raise
annually is to be used to purchase new equipment.
In Southwest Mercer County, voters will decide the fate of a
1-mill, five-year fire protection levy that would provide money
for continuing operations. That levy would raise about $40,000
annually. The Southwest Mercer department serves Fort Recovery
and rural Washington, Recovery and Gibson townships.