A hearing on the village of Archbold’s petition to conform its boundaries and separate itself from German Township uncorked some deep feelings about the two entities.
More than 100 people filled the second-floor conference room in the Fulton County Administration Building in Wauseon. The purpose of the hearing was for the County Board of Commissioners to receive comments about the petition and take them under consideration for a later decision.
The commissioners made no comments other than a welcome at the start and a grateful word of thanks at the end from Paul Barnaby.
This was the first of two such hearings as the Village of Delta was to have its turn the following evening.
The issue for Archbold is the village council wants to govern its own affairs and believes it is time for the community to stand on its own. The town is vastly different from the rural township that it only makes sense the two entities would have different priorities, the argument goes.
At 4,300 people, Archbold must seek approval from the county to conform its borders according to the Ohio Revised Code 503.07. When and if the community reaches 5,000 people, it can separate on its own.
For now, it has to deal with a rural segment of 2,100 people that appears to village officials of being focused on the farms and outlying lands of the township. That is summed up in the $100,000-plus in taxes sent to the township with little to show for it in return.
“The money we spend, we don’t see the benefit,” Mayor Jeff Fryman said.
If the village gains separation, taxpayers would save about $60 a year, he said.
Several village residents spoke at the hearing voicing their opposition to the proposal. Their sentiment lies with the township and the tie that has bound the two entities for more than 100 years.
There is no desire to break up the two communities for these residents.
German Township officials can’t fathom what the village’s beef is and believe all issues can be worked out without having to resort to separation. For them the real issue is the rerouting of truck traffic to CR 24 and away from SR 66 which goes through town.
The issue seems to be lightning rod of discord between the two factions. The village council leans toward the shift, while the rural residents don’t want to see the county road transformed into a truck route.
The township states the tax money goes into the roads leading to the village which makes for safer routes to and from Archbold.
While the proposed shift of SR 66 took up much of the comment period, Archbold Mayor Jeffrey Fryman said later that it was not part of the village’s petition.
For Fryman, the petition is a reflection of the political will the village has developed to finally go through with the request. The issue has never reached this stage before, he said.
Township officials say the taxes collected goes into the roads leading into the village, which makes it easier for workers, trucks and shoppers to get to town.
Trustee Randy Ruffer said he has no animosity toward Archbold and has always looked out for the community. He is urging caution until the study on CR 24 comes out.
“I am not opposed to expanding CR 24,” Ruffer said. “I not opposed to taking the stop signs out.
“I want to work with these guys; these are my friends. When they get to 5,000 (people) they can separate, what’s the urgency now?”
Having the German Township Fire Department based in Archbold saves village residents a lot of money because of their proximity to the stations, Dover Township resident Larry Burkholder said.
“The tax money goes to help to purchase fire equipment,” Burkholder said.
A few other residents and business owners spoke out against the road shift and separation. They didn’t see the need to separate and some said council members have never come into the businesses along CR 24 and ask their opinion about the shift.
“I feel the town only represents a few constituents,” Marlene Huber said. “They only think about the larger businesses.”
Meetings like this always bring out the opposition, Fryman said. The council is moving forward with the knowledge that a majority of village residents and business owners want this.
James Pruitt may be reached at email@example.com
© 2016, The Village Reporter and/or Associated Press (AP). All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.