Franklin Twp. gives JEDD another shot


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

Franklin Township is not giving up on its proposed joint economic development district (JEDD) and officials approved hiring back a contracted employee to help facilitate the process.

At a recent board meeting, the trustees approved hiring back Phil Honsey to oversee the implementation of the JEDD.

“Phil will be paid a flat fee of $2,000 a month for indefinite amount of time,” said John Fleshman, Franklin Township trustee.

Honsey was previously hired by the township for six months to move the JEDD forward and was paid $12,000. However, after the six months was up and no traction was made on the JEDD, the township didn’t renew his contract.

At the time of his contract expiration, Honsey said he had talked to property and business owners in great detail and they have expressed limited interest the JEDD. Honsey had recommended the trustees take a break from soliciting businesses to join the JEDD and let businesses have some time to think it over.

However, the trustees said there has been a new interest by business in joining the JEDD, which is why they are contracting with Honsey again.

“I personally have been contacted by small businesses that want to join,” Fleshman said. “At this point we need to get paperwork drawn up and send it through the appropriate channels. I’m guessing within the next year we will have a JEDD in place.”

Franklin Township has until Dec. 31, 2017 to get a JEDD into place. If they succeed, Columbus would not be able to annex the area for another 50 years.

While township officials are still not sure how much money the proposed JEDD could collect for the township, they said a JEDD in neighboring Prairie Township has brought between $2 million and $3 million annually.

“One important thing to remember about all of this is that it takes time to coordinate a JEDD,” Honsey said. “In fact, it took Prairie Township several years to coordinate their JEDD.”

Honsey said that if the township doesn’t see forward movement they can terminate his contact with 30 days notice. However, he is confident the township will get a JEDD in place.

However, not everyone in the township is so sure. Trustee Tim Guyton said the JEDD was moving nowhere. He also said that businesses don’t even want to stay in the township because of the poor fiscal situation the township is in.

“Businesses are fed up with the spending habits and those in the know are considering annexation to Columbus,” Guyton said. “The board refuses to reduce expenses when the budget tells them that they need to. You cannot spend money that you do not have.”

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