The Butler Township Trustees were right to place a question before the township’s voters on whether or not to institute a Limited Home Rule form of government. I believe its in the township’s best interest to approve it.
The reason is simple. The most efficient, and most effective government happens on the local level. I believe that to be true in cities, townships, and local school districts.
Local residents know what is in the best interest of the township, not politicians in Dayton, Columbus, or Washington. Sure, reasonable people can disagree what those issues are and how to solve them, but there’s no question that locals, who live in the township, should be making those decisions, not others.
Under the current system, Butler Township can’t set a speed limit on a township road, can’t pass a noise ordinance, and can’t do a laundry list of other things that make no sense. Montgomery County controls them – and frankly, there probably aren’t too many people in the township who believe the County Commissioners are acting in Butler Township’s interests.
Then there is Commissioner Dan Foley’s plan to merge the governments of the county with Dayton. While under the current iteration of the plan existing townships are exempt, there’s no guarantee that will be the case, either now or in the future. Besides, it is hard to tell what Foley and his committee are up to given how secretive the process has been – so secretive that Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley hasn’t been involved in the preliminary discussions.
Passing a Limited Home Rule measure won’t stop a forced merger of townships that might come down the pike at some point. As Township Trustee Doug Orange said last week, the township form of government is under attack, and he is right. The deck has been stacked in favor of cities and against townships, and that is likely to get worse rather than better.
But what passage does do, besides allow the township to control more of its own affairs than it currently does, is send a message to anyone who is listening that Butler Township wants nothing to do with a Montgomery County merger – not today, tomorrow, or a decade from now.
That, more than any other reason, is why voters should approve it.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.