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Townships given annexation say

The Associated Press

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

COLUMBUS – An annexation bill that’s been fought over at the Statehouse for decades is finally on its way to Gov. Bob Taft, following the passage Tuesday of a compromise version by both the House and Senate.

The bill gives townships more say in annexation attempts by Ohio cities, and requires municipalities to make up part of the revenue that townships lose when cities annex their land.

”That’s 25 years of work!” Senate President Richard Finan said after the Senate’s 25-8 vote. The House vote was 85-14. Most of the negative votes in both chambers came from big-city lawmakers.

The bill hit a snag last week when Sen. Bruce Johnson, R-Columbus, objected to a requirement that notification letters be sent by certified mail to property owners whose land is adjacent to property to be annexed. Johnson said that could lead to needless delays.

A House-Senate committee changed the notification method to regular mail, which doesn’t require a recipient’s signature. Taft hasn’t decided whether to sign the bill, spokesman Kevin Kellems said.

”He’s been monitoring the legislation’s progress. But he has not yet made a statement about the merits of the bill. It simply is an issue that hasn’t yet made its way to the front burner,” Kellems said.

The bill requires county commissioners to consider the impact of annexation on property outside the township and make cities reimburse townships for lost tax revenue for as long as 12 years.

A similar bill passed the Senate last year. Then-Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, a Reynoldsburg Republican, personally opposed the bill and left it stalled in the House Rules Committee.

, which she chaired. Davidson was forced from the House this year because of term limits.

Speaker Larry Householder, a Glenford Republican, and Finan, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, don’t oppose the current legislation.

 

The House also passed without opposition a bill that would implement a $400 million bond issue voters approved last year to help communities redevelop abandoned industrial sites and acquire more green space. The Senate now will consider the legislation.

The bill passed after Rep. Teresa Fedor, a Toledo Democrat, failed to get an amendment included that would have allowed the state to seek reimbursement from the party responsible for polluting an industrial site being redeveloped, if that party could be found.

Rep. Nancy Hollister, a Marietta Republican whose Energy and Environment Committee recommended the bill for passage, said the provision was unnecessary.

Environmentalists complained that an amendment the committee put in the bill last week takes away from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency the authority to sign off on a final cleanup and gives that power to certified professional contractors who would oversee the work.