On July 13, 2015, the Butler Township Trustees voted to put Limited Home Rule on the ballot for the residents to consider. Most of you are probably asking yourselves – what exactly does that mean for me as a resident and how can that benefit the township? The simple answer is that Limited Home Rule gives the township the ability to enact legislation in a broad range of areas that it cannot do as a statutory township. Currently, the only powers a statutory township has includes the adoption of township zoning, creation of a police and/or fire district, imposition of civil fines for property maintenance and/or traffic violations, and general maintenance of roads and cemeteries within the township (excluding county roadways). That’s it, nothing more, nothing less.
There are definite advantages to the Home Rule type of government. These include: authority in areas not previously permitted to legislate, more powerful and efficient means to enforcing resolutions, collecting fines and penalties for infractions, direct promotion of quality of life for residents, greater debt issuance authority, creation of certain water and sanitary sewer districts, and improved residential, industrial and business development within the township.
The permissible legislation under limited home rule would include: passing curfew restrictions for minors, regulating part-time employment of off-duty police officers, limiting speed on township roadways, passing nuisance and public safety resolutions, prohibiting storage of abandoned junk vehicles, instituting emergency traffic and/or parking regulations, regulation of transient dealers and solicitors, broader powers to deal with other political jurisdictions, regulating public gatherings and concerts, impounding animals, regulation of street vendors and broader powers pertaining to noise and/or lighting.
If a limited home rule type of government is passed, no resolution may be in conflict with the general laws of the State of Ohio. This means that the township may not impose any new taxes unless voted upon by the general population in the form of a property tax levy, may not modify the form of structure of the township government, may not create criminal offenses or impose criminal penalties, may not revise subdivision regulations, road construction standards, storm water regulations or building code requirements, and there would be no ability to establish regulations affecting hunting, trapping, fishing or the possession, use or sale of firearms.
We believe that if the voters of the township approve limited home rule, we could adopt certain regulations that would help us to reduce noise, eliminate light pollution, adopt weight limitations for trucks weighing less than 5 tons, limit speeds on township roadways and establish truck routes to divert truck traffic onto larger county or state roadways.
Butler Township and the township form of government is under attack. We need additional tools in our toolbox to do the right things for our community and to make our own decisions about our destiny. Where we want to go from here should be up to us and not the decision of the State of Ohio or the County. We should have local control over our taxes, roadways, schools, public safety and be able to pass laws that benefit the township. Adopting limited home rule is the first step to taking control of our community.
Reach Butler Township Police Chief John Cresie at 937-890-2671.