Trustees discuss home rule option

By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township trustees recently held a special meeting to discuss the possibility of making the township a limited home rule government.

The township’s attorney, Don Brosius, said it would be in the township’s best interest to become a limited home rule government.

“Basically if a township has between 5,000 and 15,000 residents, they can become a limited home rule township,” he said. “However, it first has to be put on the ballot and township residents have to approve it.”

If the township became a limited home rule government, little would change, according to Brosius. The only big difference would be that the township would have similar rights that most cities have and currently their rights and authority are limited.

In order to become a limited home rule government, the township has to meet several requirements. A few of these requirements include having its own police protection, either through a police department or a contract with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and having its own legal services.

If the township decided to move forward as a home rule entity, it would either have to hire a law director or negotiate a contract with the county prosecutor to serve as a law director. Right now, the township is getting free legal services from the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.

The only other requirements of home rule are that the township cannot enact new laws that interfere with state laws, cannot affect hunting or trapping and cannot affect agriculture.

The benefits of being a home rule township are endless, according to township leaders.

“This could be a huge benefit to helping us start a JEDZ,” said Don Cook, township trustee. “We could provide incentive programs to local business to spur economic development and keep businesses in the township.”

“The real benefit of this is that you will have it in your toolbox just in case,” Brosius added. “It doesn’t cost anything, so it is almost a no brainer that you should do this.”

Township leaders said they plan on making a decision in the coming weeks if they will add this on to the November ballot.

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