Monday, October 25, 2004
Franklin voters consider merger
Township would join city if issue passes
By Perry Schaible
FRANKLIN - Should the city of Franklin and Franklin Township become one?
That's the question voters in the two northwest Warren County communities will answer Nov. 2.
A yes vote would mean the unincorporated area of Franklin Township, or about 17 square miles, would become part of the city of Franklin.
"If the merger goes through it'll go from a city of 12,000 to a city of 22,000 and we'll quadruple the area of the city," said Rupert Ruppert, chairman of the merger commission and a Franklin Township trustee. "The combination will increase fire and police (coverage) in the township."
Franklin Township is home to about 10,000 people. Residents of the two communities voted in November 2003 for a merger commission with representatives of both to study the possibility. The commission then recommended the issue go on the November ballot.
Ruppert said a merger would also prevent the annexation of any more property along Union Road in the Interstate 75 corridor. "It would stop Middletown from taking any more Franklin Township land for development purposes and preserve it for the (residents)," he said.
The merger would become effective in January 2006 to allow time for the two communities to coordinate and plan for the transfer. The Franklin City Schools will not be affected if the merger passes.
"The benefit from our perspective is increased land and the potential for our tax base," said Franklin City Manager Jim Lukas. If approved, Franklin Township residents would see an increase of $66 annually in 2006 property taxes because of an extension of the city of Franklin's fire levy.
Sara Burns, a 57-year city resident, said she hasn't made up her mind. But she and her husband are leaning toward keeping things as they are.
"I don't see any advantage to the city," she said.
Voters in the city of Franklin also will decide a charter amendment to help with the transition if a merger is approved. If that issue fails, the merger will fail.
Clearcreek Twp. may change form of rule
Voters in Clearcreek Township, in northern Warren County, could also change the future of their community Nov. 2 when they decide whether the township should adopt limited self-government or continue under the statutory form of government.
Township Administrator Dennis Pickett said the change would allow officials to create laws that don't conflict with state law and follow specific limitations. It also would allow officials to seek an impact fee on new development for transportation improvements.
The same issue failed in November 2003 by 56 votes.