BUTLER TOWNSHIP – Butler Township voters will decide on a measure that would grant the Township Limited Home Rule powers under Ohio law after the Township Trustees voted unanimously to place the proposal on the ballot in November.
Trustees Nick Brusky, Mike Lang, and Doug Orange said the measure will improve the quality of life for residents of the township and has little, if any, down side.
“Ultimately, it will be up to the voters to decide,” said Lang, who cited six areas of law the Township currently has no control over but would if granted the limited home rule.
Those include establishing speed limits on township roads, traffic and parking laws, regulations regarding nuisance and safety, and broader enforcement of zoning and code enforcement, and ordinances regarding transient dealers and solicitors.
“The list speaks to many issues we are currently dealing with,” said Trustee Nick Brusky. “This can be a good tool in dealing with issues with our neighbors.”
Limited Home Rule would require the Township to hire a township law director – services currently contracted with the Montgomery County Prosecutor.
If passed, Butler Township would be the third township in Montgomery County to adopt the Limited Home Rule form of government. The other two are Washington and Miami Townships.
Trustee residents have been voicing concerns over truck traffic near the Proctor & Gamble distribution center in Union. Trucks going to that facility must travel through Butler Township.
“There has been a gap between what the county refuses to enforce and what we can enforce,” said Trustee Doug Orange.
During the workshop, the Trustees explained that the measure would not allow them to change speed limits or limit truck traffic on county or state routes, but they could on Township roads such as Jackson Road.
“This gives us some teeth and ability to do things we can’t currently do with very little down side,” said Orange.
Lang said that, if passed, the Limited Home Rule would not result in any increase or decrease to the Township coffers, nor would it mean any change in residents’ taxes.
“Don’t look at this as a way to increase the bottom line,” said Lang. “This is not what it is for.”
Under Chapter 504 of the Ohio Revised Code, Townships of at least 3,500 residents may adopt the Limited Home Rule form of government. In townships of 5,000 – 15,000 residents, the law provides for two methods of adopting Limited Home Rule.
The first, exercised Monday night, is a resolution passed by a majority of the township’s trustees to place the issue on the ballot. The second allows for ten percent of residents in the unincorporated area of a township to present a petition to the Board of Elections to be included on the ballot.
The Trustees said that the issue was not passed in response to a specific issue or the proposal by County Commissioner Dan Foley to merge the City of Dayton with Montgomery County. They did caution, however, that the future for the township form of government is cloudy.
“Unless you are living in a cave, the township form government is under attack in Ohio,” said Orange. “There are a lot of people in Columbus who would like to see township form of government to disappear.”Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.
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