2018-05-16 / Front Page

Stop Sign Change At Co. Rds. A/W And 24 Moves Forward; Trustees Question Annexation Agreement

No official action was taken, but the German Township Trustees moved forward with their plan to change the stop signs at the intersection of Fulton County Rd. A/Henry County Rd. W and Co. Rd. 24.

At their Monday night, May 14 meeting, the trustees hosted Frank Onweller, Fulton County engineer; Tim Schumm, Henry County engineer; Bill Rufenacht, Fulton County commissioner; and Glenn Miller, Henry County commissioner.

Joe Short, a German Township trustee, reviewed the stop sign situation, pointing out there is much more traffic on Co. Rd. 24 than on Co. Rd. A/W, the Fulton-Henry county line road.

Under the current alignment, Co. Rd. 24 is required to stop. Vehicles on the county line road going east-west do not stop.

Short said he didn’t know how the decision was made to require Co. Rd. 24 to stop.

Onweller said his memory was when the stop signs were considered, “the discussion had nothing to do with traffic flow as much as safety. We try to look at safety, not traffic,” he said.

Schumm said he had no objections to changing the stop signs, and Miller said he was in favor, but added he was only one of three Henry County commissioners.

Change

The officials talked about the process of changing the signs.

First, the intersection would be converted to a fourway stop to get motorists on Co. Rd. A/W used to stopping. Schumm recommended leaving the intersection as a four-way stop for a year “at a minimum.”

Also discussed were additional warnings at the intersection, such as rumble strips.

Rumble strips are sections cut out of the road pavement. As a vehicle passes over them, they make a noise, in- tended to warn the driver.

But, Kenneth “Skip” Leupp, president of the German Township trustees, said neighbors complain about the noise rumble strips make.

The group also discussed stop signs ringed by flashing light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, on Co. Rd. A/W. A solar panel charges a battery to power the LEDs.

The LED stop signs cost $2,600 to $3,000 for a pair, plus the cost of installation.

Rufenacht recommended working with the Maumee Valley Planning Organization to find grant money to help cover the cost of the signs.

The group also discussed how to pass necessary legislation to change the stop sign configuration.

Schumm suggested writing one ordinance that would authorize the change to a four-way stop, with a provision to change to stop signs on Co. Rd. A/W after one year.

A second option would have two resolutions: one to change to a four-way stop; then a second, passed after a year, to change the signs.

The consensus of the group was made to go with one ordinance.

The one-year time period will start when the LED stop signs are installed.

Schumm will write the necessary ordinance. Both groups of commissioners and German Township trustees must approve it in a public meeting.

Annexation

Plans to annex land south of Woodland Park and east of South Defiance Street, around the former Oberhaus Enterprises building, ran into a hitch at the meeting.

Donna Dettling, Archbold village administrator, put forward a proposal that would annex the property.

But the village proposal did not make an offer to “step down” property tax revenue that would be lost by the township and gained by the village.

In a step-down, property tax revenue continues to flow to the township, but is reduced by a small amount over a period of time until the township receives no money.

Short objected to the fact that the village offer does not include the step-down provision.

Dettling said she had researched nine annexations since 2002, and only one, the annexation of Sauder Village, included a step-down.

Further, she noted the amount of property tax revenue from the property to be annexed is $60.

Short said he is concerned about the lack of a step-down proposal setting a precedent for future annexations.

He also said the village has annexed about 1,000 acres from the township, but did not know over what time period those annexations had occurred.

Dettling said she would check with Brett Kolb, county auditor, to determine what a step-down payment structure would look like.

Short said he would not sign the annexation agreement until the step-down provision was addressed.

“I’m not trying to be difficult,” he said.

Dettling said the annexation is being made to allow the owners of Powder Coat Plus, which occupies a building west of the property in question, to complete the purchase of the former Oberhaus Enterprises museum building.

She said village officials are “motivated to help a property owner” close the sale of the property.

Short said his intention is not to hold up the sale, but the trustees will have to look at what the village is offering– considering they are taking land and tax revenue from the township.

The next meeting is Monday, May 28, 7:30 am, in the German Township building.

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