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Union weighs village move

February 16, 2012

UNIOPOLIS — Union Township trustees briefly discussed Wednesday the possibility of acquiring the village of Uniopolis should councilors decide to unincorporate, or dissolve, the village.

The move could create budgetary problems for the township, which, while currently more monetarily solvent, faces financial problems of their own as they also face significant cuts.

“If we don’t take it, it would just go to the state then they would come back and give it (the village) to us anyways,” trustee Dale Miller said. “If we have to take it, we will. We just want to work with the village so we don’t have the added headache of the sewer.”

The village currently owes approximately $36,000 for sewer work done to the Uniopolis sewer plant and it has not been determined yet how the bill would be paid if village councilors voted to unincorporate without paying the bill.

However, some councilors have expressed a willingness to do everything they can to make sure the bill is paid before unincorporation happened to make the transition smooth.

“I would quit first before I let that happen,” councilor Greg Ritchie said, who along with councilor Marilyn Fleck was in attendance.

More than 80 people attended the village council meeting Monday to hear about the possibility of the council unincorporating due to dire financial woes. Operating funds provided to local municipalities were cut by 25 percent and councilors have already been told to expect another cut of the same percent next year.

The loss of approximately $25,000 left the village without enough money to operate. Councilors estimated it would require at least a 10-mill levy to raise the necessary money to keep the village operating, something most councilors felt was not realistic.

Ritchie said he felt with the current financial climate, unincorporating would reduce a lot of overhead governing costs for residents. While some residents seemed a little reluctant to the move when routinely questioned at the council meeting Monday, a majority of them seemed to favor the move.

The move could create budgetary problems for the township, which, while currently more monetarily solvent, faces added financial problems of their own as they also had significant cuts.

Trustees discussed property maintenance for newly acquired township holdings should the village pass to the township. They learned expenses would be minimal.

The village’s property holdings consist only of two lots operating the Uniopolis Historical Society, the council building, an a small empty lot in town. The council would like to have the lot sold prior to prior to unincorporating.

The biggest question left for trustees was the financial impact of the move, as it has not been made clear yet on the effects of acquiring the municipality’s governing control.

“The one big question we have now is funding,” trustee Steve Severt said. “We would like to get a more clear answer on that.”

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