Letter at issue
A letter circulated in Uniopolis Tuesday may or may not contain correct information, but Uniopolis Mayor Bill Rolston is refusing to divulge the source of the information given.
On Tuesday, a few village residents received a letter that read, “Attention. This was never brought to the town people…. The Township could change (charge) $650 per house if it went to township because it would come under new housing for township. Pluse (sic) the 3 mill.”
The letter is referring to possible changes in fees charged to residents if the village chooses to unincorporate, or dissolve, on Nov. 6 during the general election.
Rolston said he circulated the letter to better inform voters because the possibility of the extra charge was not discussed during the Oct. 1 Uniopolis Village Council meeting.
Rolston has voiced his opposition to the move.
Rolston retracted an earlier statement, published in Tuesday’s Wapakoneta Daily News saying he received information from a county commissioner, but still stands by the information that residents could receive a $650 to $750 charge for new housing, saying he heard it from a reliable source.
Union Township trustees, county and village officials all have said they do not know where the number comes from or for what the charge is addressing.
“We are unable to confirm it or or get him to confirm anything,” Uniopolis Councilor Greg Ritchie said. “We are unable to find any basis for his statement. So we just have to work under the assumption he is wrong. It is a shame this came out so close to the election. But I think the people are smart enough to understand what is going on.”
The letter first only reached a few residents and was in an unaddressed envelope. Uniopolis Postmaster Link Noykos and Rolston both confirmed that approximately 10 letters were put in boxes.
“A council member had a legal concern because none of the letters were addressed,” Rolston said. “So we pulled the letters back out and addressed them.”
However, a few residents had already checked their mail and received the first letter. A second letter, with proper addresses and grammar corrections was then later mailed out to most village residents. All of the letters were properly stamped.
The only possible verification of any charges for residents currently available would be if village homes would be considered newly obtained property for a 3-mill fire protection levy currently in place in the district. It has not been confirmed by any government official yet if the homes would be considered new property for the levy.
If they are, a $100,000 home would be taxed approximately $100 per year, and most homes in the village have a property value well under that figure.
Rolston said homes likely would average in the $65,000 range.
The Auglaize County commissioners confirmed Tuesday the only possible fees from the county would be for newly constructed buildings, in which the commissioners would discuss the possibility of a small tie-in fee to be paid on their assessments.
The commissioners explain such a fee would be nowhere in the vicinity of the $650 to $750 range.
Councilor Marilyn Fleck said she planned to check with other councilors to see about the possibility of a special meeting to straighten out facts about the claims in the letter. She said council is scheduled to have one more meeting, on Monday the day before the election.
Councilors first discussed the issue of unincorporating, or dissolving, the village after village finances began to dwindle due to state budget cuts, which reduced the amount of local funds handed down to run the village. The village received a 25 percent budget cut this year and expect to be reduced by another 25 percent this year. The issue has been the major topic of most village council meetings this year.
During the council’s most recent meeting, Oct. 1, a large turnout came to the meeting and most seemed to be in support of the levy.
However, others did voice concerns with switching over to Union Township jurisdiction, mainly on issues of zoning.
Uniopolis Village Council members have came out in support of unincorporating.