The Associated Press
COLUMBUS - A tiny village notorious for a speedtrap that raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars in traffic fines every year has been ordered dissolved by a Franklin County judge.
The Court of Common Pleas sided with Attorney General Jim Petro Friday and agreed the Village of New Rome, located on the western edge of Columbus, has been operating illegally.
A recently passed law allows the state to seek dissolution of villages of fewer than 150 people if the state auditor finds a pattern of wrongdoing or incompetence in the village's operation. Village attorneys have admitted the town has fewer than 150 people, Judge David Cain wrote in his ruling.
The village also admitted it did not pass a tax budget in 2004 and failed to follow election laws.
Defense lawyers had argued that the statute allowing the state to dissolve a village violates a portion of Ohio's constitution that allows municipalities to govern themselves, according to court documents.
But Cain wrote that the people themselves chose to dissolve the village by allowing elected offices to stay vacant and by breaking other state laws. "The corporate powers have already been surrendered. The body is already dead," Cain wrote. "The statute merely provides for a decent burial."
A spokesman for the Attorney General's office said Petro was pleased with the decision. He also said motorists with outstanding traffic violations can appeal them at Franklin County Municipal Court.
The speedtrap was located on a 1,000-foot stretch of U.S. 40 where the speed limit drops by 10 mph. People were ticketed and even arrested for the most minor infractions, like a broken taillight, said the village's former attorney, Kinsley Nyce. Messages seeking comment were left at the homes of Connie Tucker, the village's most recent mayor, and Nelson Genshaft, an attorney for the village.
Zoo's Emi gives birth to a daughter
Swing voters speak up
Tonight: No blue hue, and NOT a blue moon
Public defenders overwhelmed
Festival seating could return
IN THE TRISTATE
Caesar's roamin' nose finds drugs
Contention puzzles police review leader
Treasurer's lawyer denies client mismanaged estate
Hamilton Twp. celebrates Fire Department's 10th
Local news briefs
Water-main break closes Madison Rd.
Auditor questions agency spending
Panel named to study smoking ban for city
Cleveland welcomes world of kid athletes
Ex-Ohio Supreme Court Justice Holmes dies at 81
Lottery non-winners claim sales records support them
Fewer ride inspectors on duty
Village dissolved by order of court
Counties may get less welfare funding
Kitchen grease fire spreads, damaging Anderson home
Public safety briefs
Wife shot in head leaves intensive care
Cutbacks predicted for state subsidies
Good Things Happening
Two speakers heard the call in war, strife
Dr. James Schlueter earned nurses' regard
Police investigate fatal crash on Ky. 19
State budget still stalled, but the team gave 100%
Cinergy moving customer center from Covington to Newport site
Homeowners key to rebirth, candidate says
Freedom's financial problems continue
Hustler case may be decided in state court
Boone Co. tests more than ABCs
Campbell superintendent settles in
Counseling bolsters families