The villages of Archbold and Delta must wait two more weeks to learn if their bids to separate from their respective townships.
The Fulton Board of County Commissioners will make its final decision Dec. 22 on the boundary confirmation requests. The delay is intended to give each entity a chance to reach an agreement on sharing tax revenues to wean the townships off the revenue.
The idea came from Bill Rufenacht who learned about how the village of Montpelier separated from Superior Township in 2007. In that transaction, Montpelier paid 50 percent of its property taxes normally designation for the township for two years and then 25 percent for the two years following.
Rufenacht said he would like to see the Archbold and Delta contingents achieve something similar.
“I don’t believe a decision made today will have any effect made on other townships,” Rufenacht said. “I thought to myself if the communities reached a concrete deal on taxes it would help with the townships.”
Jeff Rupp initially perceived the requests as an assault on a form of government that had worked well for years. But after some research he discovered that only 20 states have a form of township government and even then, it is not always operated the same way.
“I there are passionate people on both sides of the issue,” Rupp said during his remarks. “Whatever way the vote goes, it would not be taken lightly. We have not discussed this amongst each other. Please don’t take this as personal.
For board President Paul Barnaby, it’s clear townships still play a valuable role in the county. He recalled how it was the townships who dug people out from the effects of the Blizzard of 1978.
“They bailed us out,” Barnaby said. “It wasn’t the state, we didn’t see the state for four days.”
For Barnaby, it does no good to alter a system that has worked well since 1803 when Ohio gained statehood and before that. The township system in place was created by Congress as part of the Northwest Ordinance of 1789.
“We have the best fire departments, the best safety equipment,” Barnaby said. “I thought we were working together.”
“Fulton County has to be whole, not divided.”
Following the session, Archbold mayor Jeffrey Farmer said the conditions seemed to be achievable.
German Township Trustee Randy Ruffer said the matter was something his board would have to discuss.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org