Pickerington Times-Sun

City to offer township road and bridge funds on annexed land


Tuesday, March 4, Pickerington City Council is expected to hear the third reading of an ordinance that would provide Violet Township with reimbursement funds from road and bridge levy money should two properties located in the township be annexed into the city.

The two properties to the southeast of the Refugee and Pickerington roads intersection, dubbed the "Smith-Sanders properties," are currently in the process of being voluntarily annexed into the city of Pickerington.

If the combined 36 acres are annexed, the road and bridge inside millage on the properties would no longer be distributed to Violet Township.

The proposed ordinance's language limits the reimbursement for all road and bridge levy money that Violet Township would stand to lose to a period of 10 years at the current tax rate.

"Council's related resolution provided a 10-year 'make-whole' accommodation after township leaders indicated a desire to fight the Pickerington voluntary annexation process," said Bill Vance, Pickerington city manager.

The Violet Township Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution Nov. 20 officially registering opposition to the annexation.

Township Trustee Harry Myers Jr. said Feb. 24 the annexation issue is in the process of being legally challenged.

"We've got a firm hired and we're pursuing litigation," Myers said.

Vance has stated annexation of the properties would benefit both the city and the township.

He said should the properties be annexed, the township would not lose anything financially other than the road taxes, "but then again they wouldn't have to maintain the roads."

Violet Township Engineer Greg Butcher said information received from the Fairfield County Auditor's Office pegs the amount the township would receive from the proposed reimbursement ordinance at $355 per year.

"Therefore, in reality, 'making the township whole' has little consequence to the township's road and bridge fund," Butcher said.

"Furthermore, in discussions with colleagues from the (Fairfield) County Engineers Office, Fairfield County Utilities and (Fairfield County) Sheriff's Office, there appears to be no net increased benefit in the level of service provided to residents in the area as a result of the proposed annexation," Butcher said.

Myers agreed the reimbursement amount, totaling in excess of $3,500 over 10 years, "would be considered minimal."

Vance said its important to acknowledge that both township and city taxpayers benefit from the proposed annexation.

"Every property owner in the city of Pickerington is a township taxpayer," Vance said.

"City property owners send in excess of $3.5 million dollars annually to their Violet Township trustees, more than they pay for their own city services," Vance said.

"Any opportunities to create additional commercial investments and jobs in Pickerington benefits Violet Township as every citizen and taxpayer of Pickerington is a citizen and taxpayer of Violet Township.

"No township trustee currently lives in the Pickerington city limits," Vance said.

He said property owners in the city collectively generate approximately 42 percent of revenue for Violet Township's General Fund.

Vance stated the goal of annexation will be to responsibly commercially develop the Smith/Sanders properties.

The land is located in what city officials deem to be the next significant development corridor to the east of the city.

Vance said if the land is in the city it will generate impact fees, however, the township cannot collect those fees.

"Any kind of positive investment in the city of Pickerington is a positive investment in Violet Township," Vance said.

"We should all embrace and encourage these positive investment activities and opportunities," he said.