Township sells property to raise revenue

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

At a recent Franklin Township meeting, the board discussed tactics they are taking to raise revenue.

The township has been selling properties to raise funds. Some of the properties were given to the township due to unpaid taxes and others were abandoned or in complete disrepair.
The trustees agreed to sell several of these properties, raising thousands of dollars for the township.

“When we are selling these properties, we are looking to sell them to people who want to fix them up or use the land to build a new home,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “We also will ask neighbors if they want to acquire the property.”

Fleshman said they don’t want neighbors who acquire the property to use it to store junk cars or other eyesores; they want to see development on the property or beautification.

The properties that the township is selling are given to the community by the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC) when homeowners either abandon the properties or stop paying taxes. Most of the time the properties are either falling apart and need to be torn down or are in extreme disrepair and need major improvements.

As the township is seeing the price of homes increase throughout the region, they are able to sell the homes or parcels for more than in previous years. The funds raised from the project are then going into the township’s general fund to be used on future township expenses.

“This has been wonderful for the township and brought in new sources of revenue,” Fleshman said. “Also, when people are building new homes on the properties that is also new property tax revenue for the township, helping make up some of that funding we have lost.”

This additional source of revenue could not come at a better time for the township, as several of their departments face serious financial strain that could result in reduced staffing. Among the departments is the police, who has said it plans to ask for a levy in 2021 or 2022. The police department has a five-year timed levy that will expire at the end of 2022.

In related news, the police chief asked to fill a position after a full-time officer resigned.

“We are down three full-time officers,” said Franklin Township Police Chief Byron Smith. “If we could move an officer from part-time to full-time, we would ensure we can provide service 24 hours a day.”

However, with the current state of finances with the police department, trustee Aryeh Alex was hesitant about voting in favor of this.

“Until we have a set budget for the police department, we will have to decrease service,” Alex said. “I would hate to move someone to full-time and then have to lay them off because of budget issues. Also, we always have the sheriff’s office that can respond to resident’s calls.”

Not all the trustees agree with this and wanted to move forward with filling this vacant position.

“We owe it to the residents to have police protection,” Fleshman said. “I don’t feel it is a good idea to not fill this position and leave the police department short staffed. We don’t want to take police officers off the streets.”

The board approved filling the position with trustee Ralph Horn and Fleshman voting in favor of filling the vacant position, while Alex opposed.

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