The battle over rerouting St. Rts. 2 and 66 to Co. Rd. 24 is destroying relationships and burning through goodwill.
We use the word “battle” because the whole thing stopped being a debate some time ago. It’s turning into a political knife fight in which no one will really win.
The latest development is the Archbold Village Council’s announced intention of asking the Fulton County commissioners to separate the township from the village. The move is supposed to be about streamlining government, elimination of duplicated services, etc.
But it appears like Archbold is sticking its thumb in the eye of the German Township trustees.
The fact that Delta and Swanton are going through the same process at the same time argues against Archbold deciding to secede as a way to punish German Township; however, the timing of the move, just two weeks after the trustees formally voted 2-1 to pull their support from the highway relocation, is really hard to ignore.
What’s also hard to ignore is if the secession is approved by the Fulton County commissioners, it will cost the trustees about $262,000 a year– a major portion of their budget.
Council did opt to consider the separation request in three readings, allowing time for public comment.
Which brings up another point. Where did this idea come from? Village officials say it’s been studied off and on since 2002. We don’t know if it’s been discussed in a public open meeting, and village officials haven’t told us.
We’re not saying Archbold officials have done anything illegal, but legislation this monumental just suddenly pops up out of the blue after the trustees pull their support for the Co. Rd. 24 project?
Now it goes public?
Archbold anticipates turning over its request to the commissioners in September, handing the three men in Wauseon a hot potato no politician wants. No matter which way the commissioners decide, they’re going to make somebody angry.
Caught in the middle of the clash between the village and the township is the German Township-Archbold Fire Department. It is currently a joint project of the two entities, but if the two sides break up, decades of cooperation could go up in smoke.
There is still time for cooler heads to prevail, but it will take serious negotiation and compromise. The time to start is now.