Archbold Village Council took its first step to secede from German Township, a move that could deprive the township of about $262,000 in annual revenue.
At its Monday, June 6 meeting, council held the first reading on an action that, if approved, would ask the Fulton County commissioners to change the borders of German Township, so the township will no longer include Archbold.
Donna Dettling, assistant village administrator, said the villages of Delta and Swanton were to begin the same process at their meetings.
Archbold council also approved switching meeting dates from the first and third Mondays to the second and fourth Mondays in July, because of the July 4 holiday.
That means the council will hold second and third readings at the June 20 and July 11 meetings.
After that, council must wait 30 days before presenting the request, referred to in legal language as a petition, to the commissioners.
The commissioners must approve the request by a majority; in other words, a minimum of two commissioners in favor to one opposed.
Kevin Morton, councilman, said petitions from all three villages will land on the desks of the commissioners at the same time in September.
Council was told the move would save taxpayers in all three communities $462,000 per year.
Archbold taxpayers alone would save $262,768.
Jeff Fryman, mayor, said Archbold separating from German Township would mean a loss of more than 57% in total revenue to the township.
Kenneth “Skip” Leupp, a German Township Trustee, said later he didn’t know where Fryman was getting his figures.
Fryman said separating Archbold from German Township has been discussed for years.
It was studied in 2002, said Dennis Howell, village administrator.
The reason to separate has to do with inefficient government, duplication of services, and some double taxation.
Fryman said John Kasich, Ohio governor, has been talking about leaner government with less duplication of services and taxation.
He and Howell said village residents pay taxes to German Township for road and cemetery maintenance that village residents don’t recognize.
“They’re going to say we come out and drive on their roads, but they come in and drive on ours,” Fryman said.
Fryman also said German Township doesn’t represent the village in terms of economic development, or “how we want to move forward with new business and industries, or with individual sales-service businesses.”
After meeting with about 32 persons who were opposed to the proposed relocation of St. Rts. 66 and 2 to Co. Rd. 24 on Monday, May 23, the German Township trustees voted to withdraw their sup- port for the highway relocation.
Archbold officials have been backing the relocation of the highways in an effort to improve traffic flow in and out of town.
The move would make it easier for semis to get in and out of the village.
Opposition to the proposed project include merchants with businesses located on St. Rt. 66 who fear the loss of traffic past their stores; members of the agricultural community who are concerned about highspeed highway traffic on a state highway, which passes in front of the Gerald Grain Center elevator on Co. Rd. 24; and residents along Co. Rd. 24 who do not want highway truck traffic passing their homes.
Also, Tom VonDeylen, a Henry County commissioner, said he would vote against the realignment, and that the other two commissioners probably would, too.
Is the move to separate Archbold from German Township a form of punishment to German Township Trustees?
Fryman said, “German Township doesn’t appreciate all of German Township. They don’t recognize the village as being part of the township.”
Randy Ruffer, a township trustee, said he was aware of the village council plan to separate from the township.
He said he was very disheartened and disappointed by the decision.
“I don’t understand why it came to this,” Ruffer said.
He said Archbold should simply allow the St. Rt. 66- Co. Rd. 24 debate to play out to its conclusion.
Ruffer said people are upset and don’t want the highway relocated. He said the trustees felt it was time for them to take a stand against the project.
“This is a community,” Ruffer said.
“German Township is Archbold. It’s always been that way. Separating the community, I feel bad about it.
“I’m for Archbold. I’m an Archbold person. Archbold is a great place to live, with a lot of great people. I’m hoping we can work through this with them.
“If Archbold does separate from the township, it will be devastating to the community.”
Bruce Lauber, a township trustee, said he was aware of the plan, but said he wanted to study the matter further before commenting.
“Let me think about it,” Lauber said.
Leupp said he, too was aware of the council plan.
“We knew it was coming, but it has to have a majority vote of the commissioners” before Archbold can separate from German Township.
“It’s kind of out of my hands.”
Fryman said there are still behind-the-scenes discussions going on between the village of Archbold, German Township trustees, and Henry County commissioners over the highway relocation.
In the meantime, he said the three entities are under contract for the Phase I feasibility study of the highway relocation project.
“As of right now, we are executing Phase I,” Fryman said.