Trustees look at levy for annexed residents


By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

As Franklin Township struggles to maintain its funding, the trustees discussed ways they can prevent people from annexing out of the township.

During a special meeting, the Franklin Township trustees discussed the annexation problem the township is facing.

“We have an issue of people annexing their property to the city of Columbus, eliminating sources of income for us,” said John Fleshman, Franklin Township trustee. “Each time a property is annexed to Columbus we lose money in property taxes and we can’t afford to lose anymore.”

Fleshman said there are a number of reasons a property owner would annex their property to Columbus, including wanting to use city water and sewer or wanting to have their property rezoned from residential to commercial.

One example of this is a large property that was formerly in the township. The property, which is located at Trabue and Wilson Road, wanted to be rezoned to commercial so they could sell the multi-acre property to a developer. The owner of the property had it annexed to Columbus and Franklin Township lost over $17,500 in property taxes.

“This was taxable income that we needed and we had no choice in this,” Fleshman said. “The city of Columbus is literally picking our township apart and taking away all our revenue sources.”

At the meeting, the trustees discussed combining two permanent levies the township has for the police department into one levy and making the former township residents who annexed their property out of the township help pay for the levies through property taxes.

“If a property owner annexed their property out of the township since 2002 to present, they would have to help pay for this levy,” Fleshman said. “These property owners would be forced to pay Columbus property taxes and Franklin Township property taxes.”

Fleshman said the township would have the power to do this because of a ruling made several years ago. The ruling said that if townships have no say in having properties annexed out of their community, it would have a right to collect property tax on those properties through a levy.

“In the end, Franklin Township residents would vote on this and decide,” Fleshman said. “However, former residents who annexed their property would not be able to vote even though it would affect them.”

Fleshman said some former township residents expressed their concerns about having to pay property taxes to Columbus and Franklin Township.

“They left the township because they wanted their property values to increase,” he said. “How fair is it that they got to leave the township without us having any say in it?”

Fleshman said levies like this also would make a property owner think twice about annexing property out of the township.

However, the trustees decided not to take this approach right now because it would negatively affect seniors in the area who get discounts on their property taxes via the Homestead Exemption.

“We have a large senior population in our community and we don’t want to hurt our residents to gain something,” Fleshman said. “However, this option is not off the table for the future and is definitely something we are going to reexamine down the road.”

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