Tuesday, August 03, 1999
Township issues get airing here
500 Ohio officials meet and talk
BY ALLEN HOWARD
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Tax dollars and home rule are expected to be hot topics among 500 trustees and clerks who will gather Wednesday through Saturday for the Ohio Township Association's annual conference and trade show at the Hyatt Regency, downtown.
Although neither item is officially listed on the agenda, both are expected to come up in a meeting Friday afternoon of the Coalition of Large Ohio Urban Townships (CLOUT) and among representatives of the Southwest Ohio Township Association (SWOTA).
SWOTA is pushing for legislation to prevent municipalities from claiming income tax from employees who work, but do not live, there, an issue opposed by municipalities.
The income tax issue will definitely be discussed, even though it is not officially on the agenda, said Jean Schmidt, president of CLOUT.
Bill Morand, president of SWOTA, said the group intends to place a statewide referendum on the tax issue on the November 2000 ballot.
Mr. Morand thinks the legislation has a chance by getting support from Ohio's 1,309 townships.
Mrs. Schmidt said CLOUT will also discuss therecently passed home rule law, which will go into effect Sept. 20.
If townships adopt home rule, they can be declared an urban township if the population is more than 15,000; they can borrow at the same rate as cities, villages and counties; and they will be guaranteed a representative on county planning commissions.
Being able to borrow the same as cities, villages and counties will be a big plus, Mrs. Schmidt said. If we are going to be able to provide for our community equally, then we will have to be able to borrow as they can. It makes a big difference in what you can do if you buy a house and have to pay for it five years instead of 30 years.
Mrs. Schmidt said the new home rule law is the most significant piece of township legislation passed in the last 30 years.
Mrs. Schmidt is vice chair of the Miami Township Board of Trustees. The township has a population of 34,000.
The conference will also feature panel discussions on grant writing, natural resources, workers' compensation, telecommunication laws, township zoning, township cemeteries, the 2000 census, economic development, Y2K and labor and employment laws.
Sycamore Township Administrator Lori Thompson and township fire chief B.J. Jetter will join a panel discussion on disaster management, scheduled for Friday.
Sycamore Township was one of the communities damaged by a tornado on April 9.
She said more than 100 homes sustained damage and 40 homes were destroyed. Cleanup cost in Sycamore Township alone was close to a half-million dollars.
Much of my discussion will be about knowing who to call when a disaster occurs, Mrs. Thompson said.
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