Responsibility For Swanton Cemetery Not A Dead Issue

Territorial disputes between municipalities is not uncommon. Generally, they involve who has jurisdiction over certain pieces of property with both municipalities claiming control. Occasionally, however, there is property that is costly to maintain and neither municipality wants to take full responsibility for it. This is can be more complicated when the municipalities have overlapping jurisdictions.

This seems to be the case with the Swanton Cemetery which lies on the edge of the Village of Swanton but also within Swan Creek Township. Currently, the Township maintains fiscal responsibility for the cemetery. Information provided by Township Trustee Rick Kazmierczak shows Swan Creek has spent $123,414 in the past four years which does include $25,300 spent to remove hazardous trees.

The Township maintains the Village should be responsible for maintenance citing Ohio Revised Code 759.08, “Title Vested in Municipal Corporation” believing the Village has annexed all the land surrounding the cemetery. The Village’s position is that two parcels of Township land that are adjacent to the cemetery have not been annexed, therefore keeping the cemetery’s responsibility with the Township.

Legal representatives from both government entities met on September 20, 2016 and proposed a joint cemetery venture. On February 6, 2017, the Township trustees voted 2-1 against the proposal. The negotiations are ongoing.

In other news involving Swan Creek Township, the trustees have yet to approve the proposed updated agreement for the 2017 Fire Service provision. Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle has had several meetings with the Township on the matter.

Talks continue on the proposed study for a Fire District. There are now 10 government entities involved including the Townships of Amboy, Fulton, Pike, Royalton, Swan Creek, and York, and the Villages of Delta, Lyons, Metamora and Swanton. The cost for the study is estimated to be $18,000 to $19,000. The Fulton County Commissioners may cover this cost.

Swanton and the Village of delta are still discussing sharing equipment in an effort to save money. Stapleton Insurance is reviewing all angles of liability. If the agreement goes through the local residents will be informed by way of newspaper articles, and social media.

Five properties in the Village have been identified as a Nuisance by the Code Enforcement Officer. The issues deal mainly with garbage and junk located in the yard.

The Village will be hiring three people this mowing season at $10 per hour for up to 25 hours each per week. Hiring part time laborers devoted to mowing will allow full time employees to focus on other projects.

Landscaping on Village-owned properties will again be done by Sharon Gargill. Compensation for her services is estimated to be $3250.

Police Chief Adam berg and Fire Chief Mike Roytek met with Swanton school officials to discuss the annual fireworks show. A date of July 1, 2017 was set with a makeup rain date of July 2, 2017.

The next Village Council Meeting is scheduled for March 13, 207 at 7:00 pm at the Village Office Council room on Chestnut Street.

Bill O’Connell may be reached at publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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