Joint economic development zone

Blendon voters approve home rule, JED with city


Blendon Township voters overwhelmingly approved two ballot measures Tuesday, Nov. 6, aimed at giving the township a greater hand in its future.

Voters approved a ballot measure to give the township home rule authority, with 2,172 votes in favor to 1,073 votes against – passing the issue 67 to 33 percent, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Home-rule authority will give Blendon Township trustees greater power, such as the ability to offer tax incentives to businesses within the township and to have a bigger hand in its utilities by creating its own water and sewer districts.

Voters approved a joint economic development zone agreement with Westerville by a margin of 3,003 to 945 votes, or 76 to 24 percent in favor, according to unofficial results from the board of elections Tuesday night.

Westerville City Council approved the agreement last month. The joint economic development zone did not require approval from voters within the Westerville city limits.

Under the 30-year agreement, Westerville’s 2-percent income tax will be applied to Blendon Township’s commercial and undeveloped residential properties.

Portions of that money will be kept by Westerville for collecting the tax on Blendon Township’s behalf and by the board overseeing the joint economic development zone for administrative costs.

Of the remaining revenues, Westerville will retain 30 percent to provide economic development services to the township.

Township officials said they expect the joint economic development zone to bring in about $2 million annually, which would be used for infrastructure improvements.

Township officials said they would focus on improving Westerville Road to match Westerville’s recent improvements to the north, and also on improving its parks.