Home rule rejected in Franklin Twp.

By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Franklin Township voters rejected making the township a limited home rule government.
Residents voted 1,621 against and 924 for the township becoming limited home rule, according to election results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.

“I think we didn’t thoroughly communicate the benefits of becoming a limited home rule government,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “I think township residents didn’t thoroughly understand that this will just be another tool in our toolbox.”

The township was asking voters to approve making the township a limited home rule government, which gives the trustees  power to offer businesses incentives if they moved to the region.

According to trustee Don Cook, limited home rule would not have given the township power to create new traffic law or other similar legislation. However, prior to the election, the board heard significant opposition to the proposed issue.

“I heard one person say they are not going to vote for this because they don’t want to give us more power,” Cook said. “What people don’t understand is limited home rule will help this township because it will help us bring more businesses to the area.”

A limited home rule government is an option for township governments if they have a population between 5,000 and 15,000 residents. A limited home rule government allows for more control over public affairs and service within a township. The trustees were hoping they could use the power of a limited home rule government to attract businesses to the Westland Mall area and setup a JEDD for the area.

“This would have helped us more quickly get a JEDD in place,” Fleshman said. “Not having the power of a limited home rule government is going to make it a lot more difficult to entice businesses to come to this area and setup a JEDD.”

The township has been working with Phil Honsey to set up a JEDD in this region of the township since 2015. In 2015, the township paid Honsey $12,000 to get a JEDD implemented in the region and in early 2016 started paying Honsey $2,000 a month to continue these efforts.

The township has until Dec. 31, 2017 to get a JEDD in place. If they succeed, Columbus cannot annex the area for another 50 years.

“My personal opinion is that we should try to get limited home rule passed again,” Fleshman said. “Limited home rule will help us get this JEDD in place. However, as a board, we will need to discuss this.”

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