Uniopolis mayor resigns

UNIOPOLIS — Uniopolis Mayor Bill Rolston apparently has resigned, village councilors learned during Thursday’s meeting.

When arriving for the meeting, Council President Greg Ritchie found a letter apparently from Rolston informing councilors of his resignation.

Councilors did not immediately accept the resignation. After a brief executive session, councilors came out and informed a crowd of approximately 15 people of the letter. Ritchie explained since the letter was unsigned, councilors chose not to officially accept it until they could verify it.

They did not take action on a recommendation from village Solicitor Bob Fitzgerald.

Councilors declined to immediately release the letter or its exact contents, claiming the letter was not yet public record since they had not accepted it yet.

Councilors said they will wait to verify the letter is from Rolston and will require his signature before taking action on his resignation.

During a telephone call, Rolston told the Wapakoneta Daily News he penned the letter of resignation.

Giving reasons for stepping down, Rolston said he was resigning due to his disagreement with council and how they were doing things in regard to unincorporating, or dissolving the village known as surrendering the corporation of the village to the township.

Rolston and councilors have been at odds ever since February about how to address the village’s financial troubles. During a special meeting, councilors discussed dissolving the village Feb. 8 and ultimately chose to have the issue put on the ballot this past November.

However the move was narrowly defeated by a 60-57 vote, leaving councilors scratching their heads on what to do next. Possible solutions discussed have included putting the issue on the May primary ballot or the November general election, or simply just staying open for business until they run out of funds.

Ritchie said if expenses and revenue remained unchanged from where they are now, the village had enough for 16 to 18 months before they were officially out of money.

Tensions between the mayor and council heated up in October after an unsigned letter circulated to village residents. The letter said the village residents could see a $650 per house if the village corporation was surrendered to the township. It also said a 3-mill fire levy could be imposed.

Councilors claimed the statement as not being true, and said the statement was made only to sway the vote.

During the November council meeting, a move to ask for the mayor’s resignation was called to a vote but was defeated with three councilors voting yes, two abstaining, and one voting no. At that time, Rolston said he did not have any plans on resigning.

Rolston has served as mayor in the village since 1993 and had won his current term by a narrow 46-44 vote in November 2011 over councilor Marilyn Fleck.

Things do not get any better in 2013 financially for the village, as the approved budget for 2013 showed $69,898 to operate on and a projected $89,400 in expenditures.

Council discussed the possibility of seeking an operating tax levy and a fire services levy in 2013 in order to continue operation.

Preliminary estimates show about an 11.5-mill tax levy would be needed to break even, coupled along with the approving of the fire levy, which is now 3 mills. Those two levies would cost an owner with a $100,000 home approximately $508 a year.