Voters to decide unincorporating at the polls

UNIOPOLIS — Uniopolis village residents face the possibility of unincorporating, or dissolving, the village at the polls on Nov. 6.

The village would become part of the township and the county would assume control of the wastewater treatment facility.

Unio-polis Village Council members Greg Ritchie and Marilyn Fleck both support the measure, as do the remaining three councilors, which passed the move to put it to a vote with residents by a unanimous vote.

“”I think it is the times we are in,” Ritchie said. “If looking into the future it seemed things might recover, then it might be worth trying to hold on. But from everything we gathered, it simply is not feasible. We are trying to be proactive.”

Fleck said she didn’t want to make the move, but said she could see the writing on the wall.

“We benefit from it,” Fleck said. “It eliminates a lot of extra costs. The more I read, they are talking about merging townships and villages. Right now we meet to pay the council and pay the bills. There is nothing left after that.”

Mayor Bill Rolston said he is against the move, saying he foresees more cost in the future for residents if the village dissolves.

Rolston said he has talked to Auglaize County commissioners and that residents could see large increases in their sewer bills.

The county assume management of the sanitary sewer system in the village if residents choose to unincorporate.

Rolston also said residents could face charges from a 3-mill fire levy currently in place in the township, a charge residents within the village currently do not have.

Rolston said commissioners had discussed the possibility of a $650 charge per single-family dwelling to help cover the fire district charges.

However, in a telephone call this morning, Commissioner John Bergman said the commissioners had not discussed higher sewer rates or a $650 charge with Rolston.

“I don’t know where that number ($650) is coming from,” Bergman said. “The only fee that has been discussed is if the village unincorporates. “We have discussed a fee for tap-ins for new buildings.”

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 is expected 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 and loss of community.

Ways of raising additional income have been discussed, such as incorporating some businesses or homes into the corporation limits. Some of the businesses discussed included Arrowhead Estates, Miller Brothers, or a storage facility for KISS Insulated Seamless Siding.

However, Aarowhead Estates and Miller Brothers both have expressed no interest into being incorporated, and the storage facility was determined to have very little impact on adding additional funds. Also, township trustees present at the meeting said they would challenge losing the tax base for the three entities to the village.

The village is not the only village locally discussing the issue of unincorporating. Fort Shawnee will also have the issue of unincorporating on the ballot Nov. 6, also citing financial reasons.